The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Christmas Creep: Commercial Christmas items appear earlier and earlier in stores

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Lucy Byrnes
Over the past several years, stores have been selling Christmas items sooner and sooner.

Harsh light shines in the Target aisles, contrasting sharply with the twinkling stars on the plastic Christmas tree by the swishing doors. Soft beeps sound from the checkout lines as dozens of shoppers fill plastic bags with food, detergent, and some with boxes of sparkling ornaments in green, red and white. It is only early November, but the holiday advertisements have been up for weeks.

Commercial Christmas has been arriving earlier every year with holiday products now being advertised beginning in early September to October, resulting in a variety of reactions from students.

Some U-High students, such as Eva Neves, a ninth grader, are enjoying the earlier start of the festive season, describing how the holiday makes them feel happier.

“I mean, sure, I love Christmas. Bring it on!” Eva said. “I really love seeing all the decorations. It makes me feel warm inside.”

Others are more hesitant, considering that overhyping Christmas could ruin the holiday spirit.

“Sometimes they celebrate Christmas on Thanksgiving or Halloween and I’m just like, let’s just stick to the holiday right now, and we’ll move to Christmas after,” Madeline Baker, a ninth grader, said.

The term “Christmas Creep” was first coined in 1980 to describe the commercial phenomenon of dozens of major retail companies capitalizing on the Christmas craze. 

Other holidays, such as Thanksgiving, are no longer advertised in many stores. Some retailers, such as Target and Home Depot, begin selling Christmas decor before Halloween products are even taken off the shelves. 

“Every time I go to the store, they have Christmas things out, Christmas deals, which honestly, I think is a positive thing, because some people really need those deals,” Madeline said.

Holiday decor also makes people more happy. Shimmering tinsel in windows, glowing strings of colored bulbs and the iconic green tree help create a joyful atmosphere. 

“I’m decorating my room as soon as I possibly can, and I really like putting up the Christmas tree,” Madeline said. “It’s just a very festive time, so it brings happy memories.”

However, large-scale Christmas capitalization often leaves other holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa overshadowed in retail stores. Madeline has seen this imbalance in social media videos. 

“It was in a Target and the whole store had Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, and this really small Hanukkah section, and nothing for Kwanzaa or for any other holidays that people would celebrate around that time,” Madeline said.

However, it is likely that the holiday’s monopolization of stores will soon be balanced out, as previously under-represented holidays become more mainstream. 

“People are now more culturally aware,” Madeline said. “I think there’s going to be a person who’s going to be like, ‘Hey, there’s nothing for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa — can we do something about that?’”

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time, and the Christmas Creep, despite its purpose being purely capitalistic, helps amplify the holiday spirit. Twinkling lights in windows and cheerful decorations in stores serve to bring warmth to a gray and icy season.

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About the Contributors
Sinziana Lazar
Sinziana Lazar, Reporter
Sinziana Lazar is a member of the Class of 2027. She began journalism in 2023 as a ninth grader. She plays violin in CYSO and is a member of the Robotics and Model UN teams.
Lucy Byrnes
Lucy Byrnes, Photographer
Lucy Byrnes is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. Her favorite part of photojournalism is getting involved with school activities. Outside of photojournalism, Lucy participates in making the costumes for school plays and enjoys various forms of visual arts.

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