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Christmas Creep

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The Peanuts gang witnessing Christmas in April.
(Poor Easter...)

"Christmas is so big, it's starting to eat other holidays. Watch out, Halloween!"

A phenomenon which can be found anywhere Christmas is celebrated but is probably most prevalent in North America, Christmas Creep refers to the tendency of Christmas-related merchandise, decorations, music, television programming, and so forth to start appearing earlier and earlier each year.

Prior to The '80s, the Christmas retail season in the U.S. didn't start until after Thanksgiving Day (although Christmas catalogs for Sears, JC Penney, etc. were being mailed out as early as August at least as far back as The '70s). The Friday after Thanksgiving was the default kick-off to the Christmas shopping season, and stores responded with big sales on that day, which has come to be known as Black Friday. The earliest known reference to this name dates to 1961 in Philadelphia, because of the huge traffic jams and crowds of shoppers. The phrase took on a darker meaning in The '90s, following several incidents where shoppers and store staff were injured or even killed in stampedes of people rushing through store doors trying to get the best deals.

Since the Turn of the Millennium, it's more or less universal that Christmas merchandise will take over as soon as the Halloween stuff is moved to clearance (though many grocery stores try to reserve at least some display space for Thanksgiving). And even when Halloween occupies the main "seasonal" aisles, some Christmas stuff will turn up by mid-October. Christmas Creep isn't confined to the retail world, either: many radio stations that switch to an "all Christmas Songs, all the time" format now do so as early as November 1, for instance, and it's not unusual for homeowners to get a similarly early start on putting up their own lights and decorations. (Though, in cold-weather climates, this may stem primarily from a desire to finish outdoor decorating ahead of the harshest winter weather. Many will set up and test their lights beforehand, but save an "official" turn-on time for Thanksgiving weekend.)

Moreover, this phenomenon has begun to affect all holidays with an opportunity for commercialization. It is no longer uncommon to see paraphernalia for an upcoming holiday appearing in stores as soon as (if not before) the previous holiday is over. Thus, Valentine's Day decorations will appear in stores even before Christmas is over, with St. Patrick's Day material popping up around the beginning of February, Passover and Easter things at almost the same time,note  summer items as soon as Easter and Passover are done with, back-to-school promos as early as July,note  and Halloween items in July/August. Recent surveys have revealed that Christmas Creep isn't all bad: Some people often report feeling excited for Christmas as early as March, and in the UK, many people flock to their television screens to watch the premiere of the next big-budget Christmas Advert produced by John Lewisnote  at the start of November each year.

See also Everyone Is Christian at Christmas and Santa Clausmas.

If Christmas Creep appears in-universe, it's generally Played for Laughs, poking fun at the earliness itself or mercilessly mocking the commercialism involved.

Has nothing to do with The Krampus, or the guy at the office Christmas party (you know, the one with the lampshade on his head) who has too much eggnog and forgets the concepts of "personal space" and "hands to yourself." That would be a Christmastime creep, since it's something a creep would do at Christmas time.


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    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts joked about this a lot. The Halloween-Thanksgiving period was the usual victim of the creep.
    • In a late 1950s strip, Charlie Brown complained to Patty about not being able to buy a mask for Halloween, due to the store staff being busy putting up Christmas decorations.
    • Another comic had Sally go to see the Mall Santa in February. Charlie Brown says she's either a month too late or eleven months too early. Sally then says she'll be the first in line.
    • At the other end, one comic has Lucy snap into a rage because Linus is still playing Christmas records in February.
  • In one Shoe comic strip published and taking place on July 1, Professor Cosmo "celebrates" July 1 as the day when his Christmas decorations are no longer up too late, but too early. (Which is to say, he leaves them up all year round because he's too lazy to take them down.)
  • The Blondie strip for September 14, 2013. As Dagwood and Blondie are walking through a mall, Dagwood complains about the stores playing Christmas music in September.
  • One FoxTrot comic that ran in November was about Andy complaining about how the decorations came out earlier every year, and stores begin pushing holiday merchandise. The punchline was that she was complaining about Valentine's Day decorations, despite it not even being December yet. Apparently, Christmas sales ran their course back in September.
  • Drabble. In the strip for Monday September 16, 2013, Mr. Drabble (the title character's father) finds his wife singing Christmas songs and setting out Christmas decorations in September.
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin deliberately tries to spread this in one strip, singing "Silver Bells" at the top of his lungs in mid-September. His parents respond by forcing him outside. Calvin shoots back, "Not thinking about it won't make it go away!"
    • In a strip from the day after Halloween: Calvin and Hobbes wake up sick from all the candy they ate. Calvin remarks how the day after a holiday is depressing and suggests going into town to look at Christmas decorations.
  • Cathy is outraged that she can't buy a swimsuit at a department store in summer as they're moving in the fall merchandise. She demands to see the manager, who shows up in a Santa suit.
  • Retail, being about, well, retail, has a lot of examples:
    • A strip in October 2015 featured Cooper looking at a Halloween display on one side of the store and a Christmas display on the other, and commenting that Tim Burton was ahead of his time. (As mentioned below, it was this sort of thing that actually gave him the idea.)
    • Christmas stuff being put out in September is a recurring plot. Every year the customers are surprised by that. One year Cooper finally yelled at them that Christmas stuff came out so early because management thought they wanted it, prompting the customers to wonder what happened to his Christmas spirit.
    • One year Cooper and Donnie find Christmas ornaments in their May. Donnie begs for it to be a mistake.
    • Cooper exploits this trope once by using leftover Christmas wreaths to pretend to build a display in the middle of the summer just to see customers' heads explode.
    • Not only does Stuart actively encourage this trope, he tried to make Easter a second Christmas shopping season since Christmas is when Grumbel's is at its most profitable. He's also given out Christmas flyers and candy canes on Halloween (prompting the kids to egg his house) and openly disdains holidays that aren't retailer-friendly.
      "What good is a holiday if you can't make any serious money from it?"
    • Helping Stuart (and not helping the others) is that corporate encourages pushing the Christmas Creep. The managers meeting that happens in June always discusses Christmas, they've encouraged store managers to play Christmas music starting October 1 (which Stuart made mandatory in his district) and sent a sign reminding people that it's time to think about Christmas in August (which promptly got torn up by customers). Marla, for her part, resists pushing the Christmas Creep as much as she can, even saying one year she flat out refuses to play Christmas music in October unless corporate mandates it. (Cooper quips that that mandate probably isn't too far off.) Should be noted that this came at the end of a week where Stuart tried to go behind Marla's back to get someone else to play the Christmas music, only to find that Marla hid the cds containing them and Val would only tell him where they were if he bribed her 1000 dollars.
    • While Christmas is the most obvious, it's not like the other holidays aren't exempt. One year on February 9 a Valentine's display changed over to an Easter display in the amount of time it took a customer to look at her phone. Another year Donnie noted that the Easter stuff had been out since the day after Christmas.
    • Cooper claims that the Christmas Creep occurred because a boy wished to a genie that Christmas be four months long (because his father was the CEO of a department store chain) and then threw the lamp in a volcano so no one could undo it.
    • It should be noted that all of this is to the detriment of Thanksgiving, which may as well not exist to Grumbel's management. (Stuart once even said the concept of Thanksgiving was obsolete and these days Thanksgiving only served to kick off Christmas season.) One year, when a customer asked if Grumbel's had anything for Thanksgiving, Val's only answer was 'a six hour shift'. Another year they finally let one Thanksgiving decoration be sold in their stores...and that was only because the turkey was wearing a Santa suit.
  • Garfield has been devoting more and more time in December to Christmas-themed strips, crossing into November for the first time in 2002.
  • A late 1990s Making It cartoon sees Jonathan Lund take his nephew Holden shopping for back to school clothes in late August, only to discover the stores have already moved to Christmas merchandise. A store employee shows the Lunds a chart of which holidays they focus on when, explaining that the back to school sales ended weeks ago. In the final panel, Holden is dressed in an elf costume and complaining that he feels stupid; Jonathan says the only alternative was a reindeer costume.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The film The Heart of Christmas is Based on a True Story of Dax Locke, a 2-year-old Littlest Cancer Patient whose hometown gave him one last Christmas when it became clear that he would not live till then.
  • A variant takes place in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory where Wonka shows the room where his geese lay chocolate eggs. Remember, the tour takes place on October 1st...
    Wonka: They're laying overtime right now for Easter.
    Mike: But Easter's over!
    Wonka: Shh! (covers Mike's mouth) They don't know that. I'm trying to get ahead for next year.
  • An easily-missed line in Mallrats has Brodie stating that the Easter Bunny setup has apparently been at the mall since "two days after Christmas".

  • This was the inspiration for Tim Burton's narrative poem that was later adapted into his animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton composed the poem after seeing Christmas decorations being put up in a store window display while the Halloween decorations were being taken down.
  • In one sci-fi story, Christmas Creep had gotten so out of control that laws were passed to make it illegal to even so much as hum Christmas carols except on the day itself. On penalty of death.
  • Ray Bradbury used a concept of making holidays illegal in his short story "The Exiles". By 2120, "Halloween was outlawed and Christmas was banned!" Ambrose Bierce appears in the story as a character, and he makes the following comment just moments before expiring:
    "A regrettable situation...for the Yuletide merchants who, towards the last there, as I recall, were beginning to put up holly and sing Noel the day before Halloween. With any luck at all this year they might have started on Labor Day!"
  • A story by the Polish satirist Krzysztof Jaroszynski has an American visit Poland and ask why the Christmas decorations still haven't been taken down by February. The protagonist answers that these are decorations for this year's upcoming Christmas.
  • In The Dresden Files Kringle is one of the fae but only takes up the mantle of Santa during Christmas season. He tells Harry in Cold Days that he hates Christmas Creep and he has drawn the line at Halloween, refusing to become Santa before then.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Greg sees a newspaper ad for a sale on back-to-school supplies on July 5th—exactly two months before school starts, and decides that whoever put that ad in the paper that early must really not like children.
  • Hannah Swensen:
    • In Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (the first novel of the series), Hannah and her assistant Lisa Herman visit the Tri-County Mall, where Hannah is surprised to find Christmas decorations out in October. Lisa tells her they put them out right after Labor Day.
    • In Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Hannah's mother Delores has a version of this - she states that she starts her Christmas shopping for the next year on the 26th of December.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied on an early episode of the Nickelodeon show Roundhouse, where immediately after a Troperiffic horror movie parody entitled Hellraiser Freddy The Thirteenth Halloween Chainsaw Massacre On Elm Street 12 during a Halloween-themed segment, Natalie comes in advertising a store's pre-Christmas sale, leading to this exchange.
    Micki: Christmas sale? It's not even Thanksgiving yet!
    Natalie: Well, time flies when you've got to mark up tons of expensive merchandise that has nothing to do with the holiday spirit!
  • In the Corner Gas episode "No Time Like the Presents", Emma is shown to be a victim of this when she comes home and declares that she has all of her Christmas shopping done.
    Oscar: Christmas?! It's July, woman!
    Emma: Well, I wanted to get a jump on it! Remember last year?
    [Flashback to last year]
    Emma: It's the 24th and I haven't started shopping!
    Oscar: It's the 24th of September, woman!
    Emma: Yeah, but I wanted to get a jump on it! Remember last year?
    [Flashback to the year before that]
    Emma: It's Christmas Day and I haven't bought a thing!
    Brent: [confused] We just opened our gifts.
    Emma: No, I mean for next year.
    Oscar: At least wait until September, woman!
  • The premiere episode of S Club 7's series Miami 7 has Jon starting a new job in an office. He's told he should enter his name to win the Christmas prize. Jon is baffled, pointing out that it's only March.
  • The page quote is taken from a rant by Jon Stewart during his run on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, using this phenomenon to mock the idea of The "War on Christmas"
  • The stance of Jul i Skomakergata is that over-commercialization of Christmas is bad, but that it's good to not limit your celebration too much either. One episode revolves around a woman who takes the anti-Christmas-creep mentality so far that she thinks any celebration before Christmas Eve itself is too early, and protagonist Jens Petrus Andersen managing to make her soften her stance. On the other hand, there's also an episode where an obnoxious door-to-door salesman tries to push an overly-commercialized Christmas on people, which makes the normally-mild-mannered Andersen kick him out and angrily tell him to leave the town.
  • Discussed in the Cheers episode "Thanksgiving Orphans". Sam gripes about the holidays starting earlier and earlier as he and Woody are putting up Christmas decorations a few days before Thanksgiving, Woody points out that Christmas starts on December 25th.

  • Satirized in Straight No Chaser's song "The Christmas Can-Can", which mixes Christmas carols with the famous can-can melody. "Heard this same song twenty times!/And it's only Halloween!"..."Christmas season!/Starting sooner every year!/It's October!/Stores with plastic Christmas trees!... But mainly shopping! shopping! shopping! shopping! shopping! shopping!"
  • "Suddenly It's Christmas" by Loudon Wainwright III.
    There's got to be a build-up
    To the day that Christ was born
    The halls are decked with pumpkins
    And the ears of Indian corn
    Dragging through the falling leaves
    In a one-horse open sleigh
    Suddenly it's Christmas
    Seven weeks before the day
  • "The Way-Too-Early Christmas Song" by Paul and Storm.
    It's not December
    It's barely even November
    Outside it's still too warm for snow to fall
    Halloween was yesterday
    And winter's still a ways away
    But try to tell that to the folks down at the mall....
  • "Santa Stole Thanksgiving" by Jimmy Buffett.
    Santa stole Thanksgiving for Christmas
    It was such a happy holiday
    No more laid-back relaxation
    It's Black Friday degradation
    Seems Santa sold Thanksgiving to the mall
  • English singer Paddy Roberts' Anti-Christmas Song "Merry Christmas You Suckers" (1962) includes a verse relating to this:
    Merry Christmas, you suckers, it's perfectly clear
    That you fall for it all a bit sooner each year
    If it goes on like this, you will find pretty soon
    You're singing "White Christmas" as early as June
  • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's "I'll Sue Ya", the Long List of Frivolous Lawsuits mentioned by the narrator includes one against the department store chain Neiman Marcus "because they put up their Christmas decorations way outta season".
  • "Christmas in July" by Joe Scruggs has the singer observing how Christmas decorations are up practically all year in the mall, from August until July, resulting in them having Santa Claus "in Bermuda shorts, standing by the sleigh/reminding folks the holidays were six short months away." In the end, the singer remarks that cooler heads ultimately prevailed, and they'll take down the decorations by Saint Patrick's Day.
  • This trope is the central theme of Saltatio Mortis Willkommen in der Weihnachtszeit note , besides general consumerism.
  • The song "October Night" by Todd Chappelle complains about stores putting up Christmas decorations too early:
    October night, we should be carving pumpkins
    Instead the stores have their Christmas displays

    New Media 
  • CD-ROM of Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary has a section called "Cultural Guide" and it has a short informative article about Christmas in Britain. One sentence really says it all: "Shops are decorated for Christmas from September and in the weeks before Christmas people do their Christmas shopping."
  • Gregg Easterbrook, NFL columnist, used to have a feature in his weekly Tuesday Morning Quarterback column called "Christmas Creep", where he would list real-life examples of this trope that he found or were submitted by his readers. It became SO common, however, that he abandoned it in favor of the Unified Field Theory of Creep, where he lists all non-Christmas versions of this.
  • Cracked:
  • ClickHole features an article about how stores had already been rolling out their Christmas displays for the next year!
  • In The Hidden Almanac, one of the recurring advertisers is Suzy's Seasonal Assassins, whose services include discouraging this behavior with extreme prejudice.

  • Many commercial radio stations in the US will play nothing but Christmas Songs throughout November and December, a phenomenon that (as with a lot of the rest of Christmas Creep) really took off in earnest around the Turn of the Millennium. Prior to this, stations that played Christmas music would generally do so only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or at the most, sporadically starting after Thanksgiving and eventually with more added the week of Christmas, when holiday-themed songs begin falling into the regular rotation. When it does come to Dec. 24-25, usually those stations that hold out on playing a 24-hour Christmas song playlist will switch, with either pre-recorded or satellite-fed programming played, as well as some songs selected from the playlist that's pre-recorded. Some stations still use live talent on Christmas Day, but more often than not the voices will be voice-tracked, recorded a few days earlier, or simply the music will be played without interruption. Then in the mid-to-late 1990s or so, stations in larger markets began an "all-Christmas" format shortly after Thanksgiving, with adult contemporary stations the most likely to change their format; since then, nearly every market has at least one "all Christmas" station. Sometimes, the format switch will take place as early as late October (a full two months before the holiday). This has become much more prevalent since 2001, when the aftermath of the September 11th attacks led to listeners wanting to hear Lighter and Softer programming.
    • NYC adult contemporary station WLTW ("Lite FM") used to follow this example, merely mixing Christmas music in with their regular songs, only playing Christmas music 24/7 for the week before. By 2004, this changed to 24-hour Christmas music from Thanksgiving throughout December and the following year, it began the week before. Since 2006, this has been modified slightly to start on the preceding Saturday, although for 2019, they begun on November 15. They switched on November 13 for 2020.
    • WEZW-FM, a soft AC station serving the Atlantic City-Cape May area in New Jersey, has become notorious for going all-Christmas well before Halloween, typically making the switch around the middle of October.
    • WSFF-FM, a variety hits radio station in Roanoke, Virginia, refuses to play Christmas music in November or early December, citing this trope as a reason. They even state "Has everyone forgotten about Thanksgiving?"
    • One station parodied this trope by playing Christmas songs on Labor Day (first Monday in September) just to claim they got there first. Then they returned to their regular programming the next day and didn't play any more Christmas songs until November.
    • Former NYC adult contemporary station WPLJ only played Christmas music mixed in with their regular music and only broadcast Christmas music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • In July 2020, some radio stations, including WBLI in New York and KEZ in Arizona, ran a 2-day Christmas in July event.
    • In November 2020, CHFI in Toronto, which usually switches to an all-Christmas music format on the day of the city's Santa Claus Parade, started doing so a week earlier than usual as a way to lift spirits amid COVID.
    • An unusual example occured with the Disney Hits station on Sirius XM: songs from Olaf's Frozen Adventure (which is a Christmas special), The Nightmare Before Christmas and a Disney version of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" are in regular rotation on the channel, and have been since it launched in March 2021. The channel also debuted the Hannah Montana version of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" in October of 2021. However, the channel didn't start playing more Christmas music until December 13, 2021, which was 12 days before Christmas.
    • In 2021, Sirius XM's Kids Place Live began playing Christmas songs on November 1st.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Lewis Black's third Comedy Central special has a whole section dedicated to this trope's phenomenon, specifically how it annoys the hell out of him (though that's really to be expected from someone who specializes in Rant Comedy).
    "When I was a kid, Halloween was Halloween and Santa wasn't poking his ass into it!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine: In the scenario "A Very Nybbas Christmas", this is a plot by the Demon Prince of Media, intended to completely separate what people think of as "Christmas" from anything to do with goodwill to all men or the Son of God.

  • The "We Need a Little Christmas" number from the 1966 musical Mame has the title character deliberately applying this, since she's at a low point in her life (having gotten wiped out in the 1929 stock market crash) and needs Christmas to cheer her up. Her nephew Patrick protests, "But, Auntie Mame, it's one week past Thanksgiving Day now!", implying that it's far too early to be getting into holiday festivities. Since around the Turn of the Millennium that lyric is often changed to "one week from (or 'til) Thanksgiving Day", as even most critics of Christmas Creep would not consider any time post-Thanksgiving to be particularly early by modern-day standards.

    Video Games 
  • In the Christmas Episode of The Darkside Detective, McQueen complains that Dooley has been playing Christmas music in the squad car since Halloween, and Dooley says that he got a late start this year.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game makes fun of the trope in the Times Square level. Upon hearing of the new Boson Dart mode, Winston says, "It's like Christmas came early!" Ray overhears this on his radio and balks, "Earlier than what? Santa came to my house dressed as Dracula last year!"
  • In the mall area of System Shock 2, Xerxes reminds shoppers over the loudspeakers that there are only 163 days until Christmas (In other words, it was July).
  • HoloFunk: Ina has got a Christmas-themed promotional event lined up for her in Week 5, complete with a Santa outfit to act the part, alongside many other spares for the other girls to wear. As Aloe points out, it's taking place in the month of August for whatever reason.

    Web Animation 
  • In Holidaze (2019), Jingle is introduced magically turning the neighborhood into a Christmas Wonderland on Halloween night, implying that he represents the sudden shift between holidays.
  • Spooky Month: In "It's spooky month", the video takes place on Halloween, but at the end of the video, the calendar changes to November 1st, and Lila is already in costume for Christmas while telling Skid and Pump that it is November.

  • Full Frontal Nerdity: After complaining about the Christmas creep, the boys decide to deal with it by combining Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas into a single holiday called Thanksmasoween. Its traditions promise to be interesting, as one of the characters carves the turkey with a chainsaw while wearing a hockey mask and Santa hat.
  • Given an interesting spin in Arthur, King of Time and Space: the others expect Lancelot to hate the practice, but he explains that he might deplore the commercialism, but maintaining the Christmas spirit all year is something he's in favour of.
  • In Scalie Schoolie, Grizzelda wins a Halloween costume contest by dressing up as the Ghost of Christmas Future, "here to remind you all that it's just a few short weeks away!"
    Grizzelda: Come on! Where's your holiday spirit?
    Geraldine: It won't be around for another two months.
  • Discussed in this Scandinavia and the World comic, where Norway expresses joy that the American holiday Halloween is catching on in Scandinavia, as this means the Christmas creep is delayed for one more month.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal posits that retail stores follow the "actual" Christmas schedule based around Santa's arrival, rather than the "official" calendar-posted December 25th. "Actual" Christmas comes slightly earlier every year because Santa orbits the sun slightly faster than Earth, and thus arrives earlier every year. The end result: Christmas items appear in stores earlier and earlier, until they are eventually never sold during the calendar holiday season.

    Web Original 
  • In Airlocked, after deadland reverts to the Mason's Harbour setting, Mai (who's from Japan in 1999 and unfamiliar with the level of Christmas creep found in 2006 America) is confused by seeing Christmas decorations in Costco in August. Deciding that they must have lost track of time after being alone in the town so long, she decides to drag home an artificial tree and gets heat stroke.
  • Brian David Gilbert: "It's November 8th" has Brian chastise his roommates for playing Christmas music in early November... but he quickly gets sucked into the Christmas spirit himself, ditching his annoyance for colored lights and a tiny Christmas tree.
  • In one episode of You Know Whats Bullshit the Bullshit-man complains about the overabundance of Christmas decorations, not just the fact that Christmas decorations begin appearing in stores as early as October, but also that people still have decorations on their houses in mid-January.
  • Ghost of True Capitalist Radio once made the mistake of revealing that he hated Christmas as he was the one who had to buy everyone presents. In response his trolls began playing Christmas songs to him in September.
    Ghost: Can we get through Halloween for Christ's sake?!

    Western Animation 
  • Peanuts jokes about this trend carried over to its animated specials:
    • invoked In A Charlie Brown Christmas, the message of the special is that the overt consumption around Christmas and how much earlier it seems to show up every year are both bad things, since the True Meaning of Christmas gets lost by all of the commercialization. This special is what also gave us the name for Aluminum Christmas Trees as a symbol of over-consumption and companies working to profit from Christmas early. Partly thanks to A Charlie Brown Christmas mocking them as kitschy items, aluminum Christmas trees were off the shelves a few years later.
    • It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown shows Christmas sales beginning in April.
    • Another special, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, has the characters complain about retailers stocking Christmas items before Thanksgiving.
    • A later TV special, Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, has Linus make a remark about Christmas decorations being put up earlier every year after Snoopy and Woodstock's bird flock crash into a tree while sledding.
  • The Simpsons brings this up quite often.
    • In "Treehouse of Horror XIV", a Halloween special that was pre-empted and aired instead on November 1st. In the opening scene, Kang and Kodos complain about the episode airing a day late, because at this point nobody gives a crap about Halloween anymore and have moved on to Christmas. The two of them already have their own Christmas decorations up.
    • "Treehouse of Horror IV" ended with the characters in the very end suddenly diverted from the story when snow starts falling from nowhere and the Simpsons were humming a Christmas carol.
    • "Treehouse of Horror XIX" (which again aired after Halloween on November 2, 2008) ends with Tom Turkey defeating the Grand Pumpkin only to wind up attacking the humans when he finds out they eat turkeys on Thanksgiving. The last line of the episode has Marge wishing the viewers a Happy Holiday season.
  • In King of the Hill, Bill becomes a Mall Santa, and keeps his suit and Christmas decorations at his house well after Christmas, even up until March. Dale remarks by saying "They start Christmas earlier and earlier each year!" Becomes harsher in hindsight when it's revealed that he hadn't taken the Christmas tree down after his wife left him years before the show began - even after the last needle had fallen off.
  • An episode of Garfield and Friends has Garfield putting up Christmas decorations during a July heat wave as part of an attempt to "think cool". When Jon's neighbours see he has his decorations up early, they decide to put theirs up early too, which leads to everyone in town thinking it's already Christmas and celebrating the holiday early before they remember it's still July. Even Santa Claus is fooled.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery", Cartman is looking forward to Christmas on the day before Halloween, to the point of circling what he wants in a shopping catalogue and singing Christmas carols while he and his friends set up their Zany Scheme to scare the fifth graders. Eventually, a delivery man shows up with a package for his mother, but Cartman assumes it's his Christmas present and takes a peek. It turns out to be an Antonio Banderas love doll, but Cartman is ecstatic over it.
    • The plot in "The Problem With A Poo" when Mr. Hankey gets the children to practice the Christmas pageant before Halloween and while the City Council is cutting the budget due to his offensive behavior.
  • In the Rugrats, the babies think it's Christmas already when the house has a Christmas tree and Grandpa dressed as Santa in August. It's actually the adults setting up their Christmas card picture. This is because the adults are so slow at getting their cards done (they normally do this in October, but Grandpa says the cards never get finished until February).
  • On an episode of The Angry Beavers, Norb and Dag find themselves launched into a large conifer, which is then all lit up for Christmas. It's then revealed that it's April.
  • Bob's Burgers: Parodied in "Christmas in the Car". Linda has a Christmas tree up while the kids are still eating their leftover Halloween candy. It's all dried out by Thanksgiving, so she buys another one - which is all dried out by Christmas Eve, so they drive out to buy yet another one.
  • In a Halloween episode of The Real Ghostbusters, Ray looks around at some lights and says, "Wow, they're putting out the Christmas lights earlier and earlier every year... Wait a minute! It's not Christmas!" And he was right; the lights were the result of ghostly phenomena, but the irony is that society has changed since The '80s, and today anyone making that remark would be only noticing something absurd in the sense of silly, not noticing the kind of anomaly that would make you stop and think "This can't be true, no one would put out Christmas lights as early as Halloween."
  • Teen Titans Go!: The episode "Halloween vs Christmas" is about the Titans battling against Santa Claus, who has decided to take over Halloween. It is the only holiday popular enough to rival Christmas, so if he takes it, he will rule all the calendar's holidays.
  • The "other holiday" variant of this was spoofed in The Loud House episode "11 Louds A Leapin'". Near the end of the episode, once the family has opened up all their Christmas presents, Rita decides that it's time to start decorating for Valentine's Day and starts to take down all the Christmas decorations.

    Real Life 
  • In Europe, Christmas foods (especially marzipan, ginger bread,note  or Christmas cookies and cakes) are usually available in stores from September or October. Most European countries, especially those in Eastern Europe, don't celebrate Halloween the way Americans do and its counterpart (if there is one to begin with) is more low-key, while Thanksgiving is of course an American holiday (Canada has Thanksgiving in October). The Christmas craze in Europe can escalate.
  • The United Kingdom is one of the few major Western countries that has largely managed to avert this trope, mainly because the Christmas season there officially begins in October, the beginning of the "Christmas Quarter" (the last fiscal quarter of the year). However, it's still not unheard-of to see Christmas and winter candies in your local grocery as early as September. And in the New Tens, Christmas commercials have started popping up as soon as Halloween is over, just like in the US.
  • In the mid-2000s, however, the creep was starting to get fairly bad in Britain, until a spate of vandalism incidents made the news. Allegedly, some people were wrecking stores for advertising Christmas items too early, with some of these stores putting out Christmas items as early as June. Stores took the hint, and in The New '10s, the Christmas hype slid back to coming after Halloween.
  • In Canada, the creeping is slightly restrained after Halloween until after November 11, Remembrance Day, the commemoration of the nation's war dead and veterans, which obviously has no opportunity for commercialization. After that, the whole seasonal blitz goes full bore. Some cities will still put up their Christmas decorations before November 11th while the weather is still warmer.
  • The Philippines has proudly laid claim to having "the longest Christmas season in the world", unofficially starting September 1st and lasting as far as mid-January, in the process merging strictly Christmas festivities with those for the All Saints'/Souls' days (1-2 November) and New Year's. Malls and commercial establishments all over the country often make it company policy to put up Christmas decorations, offer holiday sales and discounts, and play—often quite specifically—the Christmas carols of a famous local balladeer named José Mari Chan, the moment September 1st rolls around. In the (more traditional, more devoutly Catholic) provinces, families continue to observe the entire Christmas season beginning at least with Advent, attend traditional Advent/Christmas masses held at midnight and at 4 a.m., put up colourful star-shaped lanterns called parols, and plan holiday shopping, cooking, events and vacations as early as November if not earlier.
  • M&M's used to have candies in "autumn" colors, with items like leaves or perhaps a (Thanksgiving) turkey on the shell instead of the M. Then around Black Friday, the red and green candies for Xmas appeared. Then, some years ago, the autumn colors were replaced with orange and black candies for Halloween; they now go straight into the Xmas colors on November 1. Some of the Christmas candy varieties have white ones as well.
  • Office holiday parties are usually held from the beginning of November. This is done partly for practical reasons; if the party is being held too close to Christmas, people won't have time to attend because they need to make various holiday preparations or are padding the days when the office is closed for the holidays by padding it with personal vacation days. It also provides for more inclusive, nonsectarian festivities in years when Hanukkah comes early.
  • There are Christmas "saving plan"-style mail-order businesses that encourage people on a tight budget to either put a bit aside each month for Christmas or buy presents throughout the year. Given the way they work, these guys start shipping their Christmas catalogues in early January.
  • Tickets for various productions of The Nutcracker and other Christmas shows tend to go on sale by September, if not earlier. As well, the advertisements, such as e-mail reminders to regular patrons of these events, begin during the summer. Auditions and rehearsals for Christmas-themed shows range from June to September.
  • In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt's Thanksgiving proclamation moved the holiday a week earlier than its (then) traditional "last Thursday of November" date in order to provide more time for Christmas shopping to stimulate the sluggish Depression economy. In 1940 and 1941, Thanksgiving occurred on the third and fourth Thursdays. Critics called the ensuing confusion "Franksgiving", which became a bone of political contention, with states and individual families choosing the holiday date according to their political predilections. Many of the college and high school football teams, whose season usually ended on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, were confused by the scheduling, who found that their schedule which included Thanksgiving Day games was thrown out of sync by the proclamation. An act of Congress finally established the "fourth Thursday of November" (which may or may not be the last Thursday) as the date for the holiday from 1942 onwards.
  • Beginning in 2007, ABC Family and its successor, Freeform, would extend their annual "25 Days of Christmas" programming into a secondary itenerary. "Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas" would kick off during the third week in November, with a lighter version of the original block. In 2018, Freeform renamed "Countdown..." as "Kickoff to Christmas", expanding it so that it now envelops the whole of November. This was downplayed in 2021, when they instead extended their Fun Day block into the month of November, but still aired some Christmas movies such as Home Alone and Jingle All the Way during it.
  • Despite a perennial Christmas Story marathon being a Christmas Eve/Day institution on TBS and now TNT, the former snuck airings of the movie earlier in December 2019. In 2021, the film aired on December 11th.
  • Hallmark announces their Christmas keepsake ornaments near the end of April, and places them on pre-order around this time as well. They become available at Hallmark stores in July.
  • Most theme parks around the world such as the Disney Theme Parks and Universal Studios start their Christmas festivities at the start of November and begin putting up Christmas decorations towards the end of October.
  • Due to the high amount of demand the event generates, Walt Disney World begins Mickey's Not-So Scary Halloween Party in August.
  • Buzz for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade generally starts to bubble during the summer, when character balloons are first announced. For marching bands, the creeping begins a year and a half before the parade they are selected to appear in.
  • The Canadian town of St George, Ontario put on a Christmas parade in late October of 2015 for a Littlest Cancer Patient who was not expected to live to December. The boy died on December 6 of that year.
  • The originally-Anglican observance of Stir-up Sunday (the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent, occurring some time from 20th - 26th November, and the day on which a family should begin preparing Christmas pudding), stemmed from an entry in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer that was intended to "stir up" parishioners with festive enthusiasm a whole week prior to the actual start of the season of Advent. Advent itself partly functions as a weeks-long period of preparation for the liturgical Christmastide that officially begins on Christmas Day. It's thus possible to make a case that wrapped up in the commercialism of Christmas Creep is a small element of religious tradition.
  • The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition is celebrated on the 5th of December (St Nicholas Day). A national pastime is complaining about pepernotennote  being stocked earlier each year, usually around the start of August. April 2016 is of note because a retailer was selling orange-colored pepernoten in April (!), though this was actually done to coincide with Koningsdag, not Sinterklaas.
  • Trade shows and holiday gift fairs are fairly common in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The inaugural one for the Seattle area? The Tacoma Dome Holiday and Gift show, which takes place in mid-to-late October.
  • In the United States, not only does Christmas music often start playing in mid to late October (some stations play a few Christmas songs around Labor Day as a joke before going back to normal programming for another month or so), but many stores will start putting away Halloween merchandise to make room for Christmas stock over a week before Halloween. Other stores, namely ones with a garden center or outdoor center can start selling decorations as early as September! Costco has had some Christmas decorations out as early as September 4th. Note that in 2020 this was 3 days BEFORE Labor Day, 51 days before Halloween, and 77 days before Thanksgiving. For many home improvement stores with large garden centers, this also applies after Christmas when they already begin selling landscaping and gardening equipment before the Christmas season has even finished.
  • In an example of Halloween Creep, many stores that sell animatronic decorations for Halloween reveal the year's new decorations around mid-July. In addition, pop-up stores such as Spirit Halloween typically open around mid-August.
  • Many radio stations in the US change format to all Christmas-music as early as November 1, but they also change back very quickly after Christmas Day (often going back to their regular format right after midnight on December 26) even though the season technically isn't over until Epiphany. Sirius XM takes this a step further by suspending all their Christmas channels on December 29, and most radio stations that do not do an all-Christmas format stop playing Christmas music around that particular date. Now in the modern day and age of Internet radio streaming, every major streaming service including Pandora and iHeartRadio have stations that air nothing but Christmas music year-round!
  • This happens for multiple holidays in Australia.
    • Much like Europe, Australia lacks any major holidays in the September to November periodnote , and as such Christmas goods, including perishable food items that have no hope of lasting until Christmas, start showing up in late September.
    • In a case of "Easter Creep", major Australian supermarket chains have been censured and in some locations even fined for putting hot cross buns on sale during the first week of January and in some cases even Boxing Day (December 26), even in years where Easter occurs late.
  • The Hallmark Channel's "Countdown To Christmas" has gone from 1-2 movies per night throughout December to 24/7 from late October, starting earlier each year note . The network itself even lampshades this with a promo that depicted bunch of trick or treating kids bypassing a house decorated for Halloween, for one decorated for Christmas to get candy canes instead—"On this network, we celebrate Halloween a little differently." The 2018 marathon also finished on January 6th, several days later than previous programming blocks which had previously ended on January 1st. The 2019 and 2020 blocks not only followed suit, the channel capped it off by airing Christmas movies every weekend throughout the year (the former was to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the marathon), and also included mini-marathons in March and April to lift viewers' spirits during the first COVID lockdowns. The network's Christmas in July marathon is itself being subjected to this phenomenon—in 2017, it included movies specifically filmed for this event (indicated by their 2017 release date) in addition to rerunning past Christmas movies, and despite being explicitly titled "Christmas in July", the 2018, 2019, and 2020 marathons started during the last few days of June.
  • The Up Channel joined the fray by starting their block on November 1st, and Lifetime topped them both by starting on October 18 of 2019.
  • The Christmas ornament division of Hallmark typically releases their ornaments in stores in July.
  • The US has experienced a smaller-scale reflection of Christmas Creep with Black Friday Creep. As the phenomenon cemented itself, retailers began staging Black Friday "door buster" sales, opening earlier and earlier in the morning on the Friday after Thanksgiving with time-limited offers designed to coax shoppers in before dawn. Many have now shifted to kicking off their sales on Thanksgiving Day - in the process requiring employees to cut short their own holiday in order to staff the stores for eager shoppers, and quite a few others will offer Black Friday days in October, along with other times of the year, similar to Christmas in July.
  • Hobby Lobby starts selling their Christmas stuff between late May to early June.
  • In the US many dollar stores and discount stores begin selling stuff for certain holidays well ahead of their seasons, with some stores stocking items for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and even Easter first thing after Christmas and then pulling out fall decorations and Halloween items around the same time as summer items and school supplies.
  • As yet another factor in the Adored by the Network status of Teen Titans Go! on Cartoon Network's US feed, they often pull out episodes of it themed around one holiday as soon as the previous holiday ends. For instance, as soon as Saint Patrick's Day ends, the Easter episodes of the show will appear on the schedule.
  • On Halloween 2020, Global TV in Canada played The Polar Express in prime time. Whatever the intention, this is an extremely surprising decision.
  • In 2021, CBS aired Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on November 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving. Usually, the special airs in December, or at the very least after Thanksgiving has passed. This probably occurred because the network shares the rights to the special with Freeform, or perhaps to better coincide with sweeps.
  • In 2021, TBS began their Christmas movie line-up on November 6th.