It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s only been in the last couple of years that the ridiculousness was finally saddled with an appropriate moniker.
The Christmas creep.
We all know the Christmas creep. It’s the holiday cards that suddenly start showing up in the stationary section of Wal-Mart at the end of September. Wrap and bows that sneak up by the automatic door of Target near Canadian Thanksgiving are quickly followed up by fully decorated trees at Canadian Tire by Halloween, and everybody on the block has their Christmas lights up by November 3rd.
In my opinion, that’s some pretty serious what-the-fuckery, right there.
Firstly, there is a movement here in Canada to keep Christmas substantially toned down until after November 11, which is our Remembrance Day (like U.S. Memorial Day). Many people, including me, feel that the gratitude and humbleness of the day is overshadowed by the fact that it’s a national holiday and you get the chance to go shopping in the middle of the week. And retailers are open to allow it, which I understand from a purely business perspective — when your customers have the chance to come in, why would you be closed? That makes no fiscal sense, I grudgingly admit. But we’re talking about our national freedom, here, and the lives that were sacrificed for it. That’s a pretty big deal, as far as I’m concerned, and folks are too busy being distracted by flashing lights and holiday deals to actually take the day for what it was intentioned for — to spend it with the family and friends they are lucky to have, enjoying the amazing country they are lucky to have, and taking just one minute (yes, just sixty seconds is the national standard for a moment of silence) to reflect on the pain and suffering that men and women went through so Bob from up the block could go to Sears in the first place.
But, hey, you say. Isn’t going to Sears a way of celebrating the freedom I have to do so? Isn’t utilizing that freedom to chose how and where I spend my time a way of acknowledging our veterans and the sacrifice they made to maintain our way of life?
Sigh… I’m not here to change any minds, but just get across what’s on my mind. If that’s where you are at, fine. But it can’t be denied that the sentiment of Remembrance Day — and especially American Thanksgiving, bookended by the flagrantly overhyped Black Friday and now Cyber Monday — has been railroaded by the artifice of a premature Christmas season.
And the warm fuzzies of the grandaddy of all holidays, the Big Kahuna of the Calendar — Christmas — have been lost. It’s like Christmas’ PR department got drunk and puked garland and overpriced Lego all over the place. The feeling of the season is an endangered species. By the time Christmas actually rolls around, people are so stressed out from the shopping and gift rigmarole that they can’t wait for the day to be over. They’re bloated and hung over from the excess at Christmas parties. Tired of braving the crowds at the malls to grab the one gift they really needed to get, only to find out they were sold out all over town. Sick of the two months of Christmas carols on the radio. The commercialism that has been encouraged to overrun a religious holiday has engulfed one-quarter of our year, silently sneaking up on us so we don’t notice how out of place it is; it’s like tobogganing in July. The Christmas creep lurks around the corner from Labour Day weekend, waiting to wrap the culture in its self-absorbed tom-foolery.
Where’s the rejoicing?
Where’s the wonder? The anticipation? The feeling of harmony with your fellow man?
You can find it in aisle nine.