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How 'Christmas creep' takes away from the festive season

By Robrt Pela
Published: Wednesday, November 8, 2023 - 11:50am

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Don’t you dare call Robrt Pela a scrooge. He loves Christmas. But everything has a place and for Pela — it’s just too soon for the Yuletide holiday.

Robrt Pela
Robrt Pela
Robrt Pela

It’s Christmastime.

Well, I mean, it’s barely November. But anymore, as we all know, Christmas begins a couple of weeks before Halloween. Even earlier.

I’m old, so I remember when the lead-up to Santa’s big day began just after Thanksgiving. That’s when it was safe to start planning your holiday shopping list or order the turkey for Dec. 25. You could buy a plastic Christmas tree or a box of Shiny Brites. But these days, we can find these things sharing shelf space with Halloween costumes and bags of fun-size Snickers.

I spotted my first lighted-up fake spruce pine in a front window the other day. My Facebook feed is full of photos of my friends’ holiday décor.

There’s a term for this: “Christmas creep.” Merriam Webster has added the phrase to its “Words We're Watching” list. That’s never good.

I get it. Thanks to e-commerce, more retailers need more early marketing of more holiday junk. But maybe it’s not retail’s fault. Maybe we’ve just grown impatient for more of the good stuff. Post-pandemic life has been more challenging for a lot of people. I think more of us need more jolly times, more often. Sooner.

I have a particular reason for not loving this Christmas creep; for this trend in backing up the holiday season into autumn.

It’s that I don’t like Christmas — I love Christmas. I put up five artificial trees every December. I bake dozens of bell-shaped cookies and mail out hundreds of holiday cards. I have gift-wrapping themes each year. I’m that guy. 

So, you’d probably think I’d be happy that Christmas keeps getting extended, that pretty soon I can look forward to buying the latest Christopher Radko glass tree topper in July or listening to that all-day Christmas music station beginning in September. 

But I need for the Yuletide season to have a shelf life. I want it to be a season, not half of the fiscal calendar. I want October to be full of anticipation: Seventeen more days until I get to unpack the nativity scene my mother made out of old bed sheets! In two weeks, it’s time to watch the Sebastian Cabot remake of “Miracle on 34th Street!"

The truth is — please forgive me, Johnny Mathis — I grow weary of playing Christmas records after a couple weeks. A month of eating stollen and nibbling yule logs, and I’m yearning for a green salad. I’m tired of watching my "Rudolph" DVD and feeding my fruitcake.

Besides, Christmas is less Christmas-y when it turns up while I’m still wearing shorts and complaining about triple-digit temperatures. 

And I’ll tell you a secret: I’m worried about something else this holiday season. Last week, at a big box store, I spotted a pair of plaster Easter bunny statues. 

They were wearing Santa suits.

It felt like a warning. Or a threat. 

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