The Creep that Stole Christmas: The Commercialization of the Holiday Season

by Barbara Gonzalez, Contributing Writer

Stretching everywhere from the glistening windows of our favorite department stores to the rich, sweet flavors of our favorite seasonal Starbucks drinks, it is easy to see that it is the most wonderful time of the year again. The holiday season is already in full swing as we prepare our pockets for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every little shopping spree in between. With the whirlwind of elaborate decorations and glittering new presents dancing like visions sugar plums dancing in our heads, sometimes it can be hard to think about anything else during the holidays.

This partly has to do with a little concept called the Christmas Creep.


The Christmas Creep is a merchandising phenomenon wherein retailers exploit the commercialized aspect of the holiday season to its very fullest, moving up the start of the holiday shopping season as far ahead as they can manage it. The sensation can be seen all over the world, stretching from the United States to the United Kingdom and even all the way down under to Australia.

Time magazine has reported that this year has demonstrated the earliest Christmas Creep ever, with Walmart releasing their hot holiday toy list in early September. Kmart also released a commercial the same week, featuring a gigantic, borderline terrifying ginger bread cookie with a voiceover warning consumers, “Don’t let the holiday season creep up on you.”

Thank you for setting our priorities straight, Kmart. We obviously should have gotten a head start on our holiday shopping in September instead of scrounging up the money to spend on textbooks.

But really, we must ask ourselves as consumers, is there a reason why we must rush so quickly into the holiday season?

Many annoyed customers took their frustrations to the Kmart Facebook fan page, complaining about the ridiculously early marketing scheme made by the company.

Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, reassures that this strategy is actually for the benefit of the budget-conscious consumer.

“There are limited budgets today, and retailers are aware of that,” Ms. Grannis said. “Consumers are spending wisely, so reminding them about layaway is smart. It’s not just about saying we’ve got great specials. It’s about helping them with their holiday budgets.”

While it is comforting that our beloved stores are keeping our best interest in mind, it also safe to say that the Christmas Creep holds a major impact on what how we prioritize during the holiday season. Whether you celebrate a religious holiday or not, the spirit of the season is still deeply rooted in the sentiment of tradition, a time to be spent with loved ones. It is about reminiscing, being thankful for everything that the past year has brought us, and remaining hopeful for the year to come. While there aren’t any major inconveniences that come with getting a head start on the holiday season, it’s important to remember that these material gifts are temporary. When it comes to the significance of traditions and the valuable time we share with our families and friends, these are the things that will always remain priceless.


Photo by: Allan Bishop

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