If you walk into a Walmart right now you will not see a Christmas tree, hear a Christmas song or even find a single Christmas decoration for sale. Not yet.
Nevertheless, MarketWatch.com, a website that tracks business, is in a tizzy that Walmart is announcing their layaway program two weeks earlier this year and that means Walmart is guilty of saying the C-word in August (as if that itself is a crime):
On Thursday, Wal-Mart announced that it was…starting its holiday layaway program on Friday, giving consumers from now until Dec. 14 to pay for their Christmas presents. This is “a full two weeks earlier than last year,” the company boasted in an email sent this morning. In other words, it’s official — Christmas creep now starts in August.
Questions for MarketWatch: What is it about layaway that makes this “Christmas creep”? Who, exactly, is complaining? Who is taking offense? Who is overwhelmed by the presence of Christmas this creates? Why is this a thing? How is this bad for Walmart? How is it bad for America? Why do you care? Can’t you just report the news without offending those who — gasp! — like to prepare for Christmas?
We love this quote:
This, we have no doubt, is going to dismay many Americans. More than seven in 10 Americans say they are either “annoyed” or “very annoyed” when they see holiday items in stores before Halloween, a survey by data firm RichRelevance found.
Would it surprise you to know that we surveyed Walmart shoppers hours after you published this “news”? We found ZERO out of 100 were “annoyed” or “very annoyed” by Walmart’s layaway announcement.
In early July we tipped you off to the issue of Confederate flags becoming a flash point for Christmas this year. This has not been hard to foresee given the difficult summer stories of the Charleston black church shootings.
That early July story focused on a Christmas parade in Brunswick, Georgia. Georgia has been mentioned as a target by some activists for the Civil War monuments at Stone Mountain, Georgia.
But we are hearing of a bigger battle brewing in Roanoke, Virginia and their “Dickens of a Christmas Parade”. The annual parade has long featured the Sons of Confederate Veterans and they have long featured the now-controversial Confederate flag.
What all this has to do with Christmas is not the issue.
The issue is race and the appropriate use of the flag in a city-sponsored event, which just happens to be a Christmas parade. Local media tells the story of the controversy, the plans of officials from the Sons of Confederate Veterans not to give in and now a counter protest in the works that will make the Dickens of a Christmas Parade a Dickens of a Mess.
Locals are afraid they will become the lead story on Fox News the day of the parade. It is a valid concern.
Donald Trump is championing everything in his quest to become president. He’s become the latest to soldier in the war on Christmas.
In an interview on the campaign trail early this week Trump stated his belief in a war on Christmas and vowed to take action once elected:
“There’s an assault on anything having to do with Christianity,” Trump said. “They don’t want to use the word Christmas anymore at department stores. There’s always lawsuits and unfortunately a lot of those lawsuits are won by the other side. I will assault that. I will go so strongly against so many of the things, when they take away the word Christmas.”
“I go out of my way to use the word Christmas,” he added.
As usual, Trump is ahead of his presidential rivals on this issue and he is not afraid of who he offends. It is doubtful that anyone beyond Sarah Palin will even mention Christmas.
The Netherlands continues to face pressure over a Christmas tradition more than 200 years old. The Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet or Black Pete continued without protest or notice until two years ago when a Jamaican UN observer took offense at the practice of white celebrants in black face and dressed as the character who serves as a kindly foil to the strict version of the Dutch Santa Claus. Now the Dutch government has to regularly answer to the UN for what they are doing about it.
In the first UN meetings about the issue since last Christmas the Dutch government this week made a commitment to “change” the character of Zwarte Piet but not to eliminate him.
The government is riding a fine line between satisfying citizens — who love the character and tradition — and complying with the demands of the United Nations.
The Dutch government actually took steps last year to institute change in how Zwarte Piet is perceived. Last year the parade was flooded with individuals, both male and female, depicting the sidekick of Sinterklaas in natural skin tones or in faces painted in all kinds of colors with vivid variations in Black Pete’s costuming.
Traditionalists were critical of the changes and critics were NOT appeased.
Since Christmas 2013 this has been a major issue in the Netherlands. As outside forces driven by the United Nations claim the tradition is racist stubborn Dutch traditionalists say the cultural icon of Zwarte Piet is loving and misunderstood.
The debate raged to new levels last November during the traditional parade opening the holiday season when Saint Nicholas and Black Pete make their traditional entrance.
Hundreds of parade-goers — dressed as Black Pete — clashed with out-of-the-country protesters who created a scene while being arrested. These confrontations happened in front of children and families.
Christmas Creep has a new angle: talking about the War on Christmas is just too soon in August.
The August 14th episode of Fox and Friends featured Elizabeth Hasslebeck interviewing the mayor of Belen, New Mexico. It is a very familiar story: the town, whose name in Spanish means Bethlehem, displays a nativity year round. Yes, it’s Jesus on public property again.
Who is behind it all? Media Matters — yup, the left wing media watchdog whose agenda just happens to support….the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The Frisky (an ad laden site that appears to embrace any kind of contrary opinion) likely put it best:
Is it just me or does it seem like the War On Christmas comes earlier every year? For it is only August and already Elisabeth Hasselbeck is biting her nails and fretting that this
will finally be the year when she is forced–at gunpoint, naturally–to celebrate Hanukkah instead.
Here’s the funny thing: you will find more in a Google search about this story of MEDIA complaining about Fox….than you will of media reporting on the FFRF’s cases against Belen, New Mexico.
All this and STILL separation of church and state is not in the Constitution.
The annual war on Christmas always begins with Christmas Creep and this year it begins with international flavor. Early this first week of August upscale London retailer Selfridges opened their Christmas store to wide media disdain while Costco in Canada — which has been selling winter coats since June — has now put up the Christmas trees and lights.
Selfridges claims their 3000 square foot Christmas offering was launched to capitalize on the summer tourist trade at their flagship Oxford store. Knowing they would be facing some media heat for making the first push of Christmas in stores Selfridges almost relished all the attention, saying:
“We have been opening the doors to our Christmas Shop during the summer for years now and have become a real destination for those fans of Christmas and festive decorations within and outside the UK.”
In the USA only the hobby and craft stores seem to pushing Christmas already and they claim do-it-yourselfers drive that business as they get busy now working on Christmas projects. In the coming weeks we can expect USA Costcos, Sam’s Clubs, Walmarts and Targets to all switch from back-to-school promotional merchandising to Christmas — a period of time where patio sets are on clearance side-by-side with Christmas trees.
It happens every year but every year the media claims it happens earlier than ever.
It is August. No more Christmas in July. That means it is officially fashionable to harp about Christmas — between now and Thanksgiving. It is a great American holiday tradition.
For the past month “Christmas in July” has been a theme used to promote retailers, boost charities and theme community events if only to mock the heat of the season. That has been, as tradition dictates, completely fashionable. But that season is now over. It is Christmas creep season now.
That means we will see the beginning of Christmas merchandising. Stores like Walmart and Kmart will launch layaway programs. States will declare finding official Christmas trees. Holiday events will be announced. Christmas albums will be released.
Seasonal flavors come to market and that comes under fire too. We will see “pumpkin” spiced coffees, ice creams and breads. There will be egg nog mixers and candy cane candies — in October or earlier. Untold amounts of beer will be consumed each weekend for football in the weeks ahead — but just don’t make it a holiday ale.
And all of it will be declared “Christmas Creep” because it isn’t happening when media moguls consider it to be Christmas.
We see the same claims every year. They say “Christmas creep” begins earlier and earlier. They say it is more pervasive than ever. They will say the public hates it (they don’t). They will claim it has to change (it never does). They will say it is ruining Christmas, family, religion, and likely causes cancer. They will declare Christmas a menace — a threat to Halloween, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving.