The War on Christmas

War on Christmas meme with a cat in a Santa hat

Photo: Steven Perez / Flickr
I couldn’t resist this picture of Santa Claws. He looks like my cat!

Emily C. Skaftun
Norwegian American Weekly

If you watch the news (which I try not to do), you can’t escape from the annual chorus of outrage about the “War on Christmas.”

It’s hard to judge how much of the outrage is real and how much is trumped up for television and viral internet memes. Is anyone actually upset that Starbucks has plain red coffee cups this year? Aside from being pretty boring looking compared to years past, I can’t see the problem. It seems, from a little cursory googling, that previous years’ cups were red and adorned with ornaments, snowflakes, snowmen, stars, holly, carolers, nutcrackers, and other generic wintry designs. For those lamenting the lack of Christ in Christmas, those cups should already have been bad enough—they weren’t exactly manger scenes.

What offends me is that we were talking about it three weeks before Thanksgiving. What I like to call “holiday creep” (and I don’t mean that guy hitting on you with egg nog breath) has resulted in the gradual advancement of Christmas over the years. Once upon a time, I am told, folks would cut their Christmas trees on December 24. Now? Some trees were spotted before Halloween.

If there is a War on Christmas—and I’m not convinced that there is—then it seems to me that Christmas started it. First it annexed Thanksgiving, turning that holiday into a mere staging zone for the most commercial aspects of Christmas—with a side of yams. Now it’s come for Halloween. Christmas has occupied two months of the calendar already; what more does it want?

What’s been interesting this year is to see a little push-back against holiday creep. Nordstrom famously refuses to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. This year, REI made news by announcing that not only will it be closed on Thanksgiving, but also on Black Friday. The recreation gear retailer wants its employees—and everyone else—to go outside on that day instead.

It’s not clear if many other retailers will follow their example, but so far all the press I’ve seen on their announcement has been positive (or at least neutral), which is something. And it looks like even if retailers aren’t reducing their Thanksgiving and Black Friday hours, at least they are no longer increasing them. Perhaps we have reached a turning point in the war.

All that being said, here is our first official entry into the holiday season (not counting the Christmas gift subscription special offer shown below). It comes to you on November 20, which, yes, is a week before Thanksgiving. We want you to be ready to go on Black Friday, if that’s your thing, with our favorite Nordic gift ideas for everyone on your list.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.