A question for our non-US Dopers

I may be revealing some of my ignorance here, so be gentle.

As I understand it, only the US and Canada celebrate Thanksgiving, although Canada celebrates in October.

For the US, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas holiday season. Stores open early, the malls are mobbed, traffic is a nightmare, and there are hopefully lots of sales.

If your country doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, when do you mark the Official Start to the Christmas Shopping Frenzy?

It’s not a question of if - nobody else celebrates Thanksgiving (I’m actually surprised to learn that Canada does). Think about it: what is the holiday celebrating?

As for the frenzy starting, the answer is earlier and earlier every year. In Ireland, about the beggining of October it starts creeping in. There are Xmas lights up all over Dublin that were turned on last weekend. The stores put up their decorations about two or three weeks ago, and all the TV ads have Santa in them.

New Zealand is pretty well sliding into Christmas mode after our Labour Weekend (last weekend in October). The Santa-decorated bottles of mega-size Coke are out after then, the jingles fill the radio waves and TV is full of reindeer.

The next strong hint we get are the metropolitan Santa Parades (one of which I’m loosely involved with in my home 'burb). Christmas is not seen to have really started until some poor bloke in red-and-white, almost expiring from heat-stroke in a North Island summer, waves his gloved hands, and does the “Ho, ho, ho” bit on the top of something moving slowly behind the piped bands and local school sports team.

The Christmas office parties in December are a Stage 3 hint for the truly clueless.

Oh, that’s right! Christmas comes in the middle of summer for you guys Down Under.

Does it seem weird to you to celebrate Christmas in the winter?

The scary thing is, in Canada, the day after Halloween marks the beginning of the Yule rush. Or so a distressing number of merchandisers would have us believe. The scene in the local Valu-Mart:

31 October: orange-and-black candies piled to the roof.
1 November (morning): fire sale on orange-and-blacks.
1 November (afternoon): red-and-green candies piled to the roof…

They haven’t had the gall to start promonting that Yuletide shopping frenzy before the end of October, but I figure it’s only a matter of time…

There’s no official starting date for Christmas festivities in the UK. For me personally the season doesn’t start until mid-December and I’ve been known to do all my Xmas shopping on Christmas Eve before now. Unofficially it seems to start straight after Easter :(, but that could be a mental illusion on my part.

I have one friend at least who has had his work’s Xmas Party, which pissed him off fairly mightily.

Some shops in London’s main shopping street have already put their Xmas displays up (in fact that story is dated 8 October!) The official lights on Oxford Street were switched on on 12 November. The story also contains some comments from people complaining about how early the commercial aspects seem to start nowadays.

Oh, we’ve had displays up since mid October, but the news reporters talk about how the “Christmas Shopping Season” is six days shorter since Thanksgiving is so late. I really don’t think they start counting Christmas retail revenue as such until the day after Thanksgiving.

Since I loathe everything with christmas I tend not to notice, but I’d say the horror season starts around now. I once saw a christmas tree in a shop window in Copenhagen on October 22nd, but that is the most extreme sighting I have ever had.

I must apologise for the first part of my post: I somehow failed to read paragraph #2 of the OP. Sorry.

Here in Finland (actually, I’m not sure about whether it’s whole Finland, but at least here in city of Joensuu) there was an official opening of Christmas season last sunday, with marketplace full of people and juggling and fireworks and everything.

I am still waiting for the locals to begin Christmas shopping.

This year in BC, I saw Christmas decorations up in stores before Hallowe’en.


Paul in Saudi wrote:

How do the locals respond to the Christmas celebrations of the various Christmas celebrators there?

I started noticing Christmas stuff in the stores about mid October. Supermarkets start to gradually introduce 1 or 2 Christmas items about then, towards late October you have 1/4 of an isle dedicated to Christmas, early november its about 1/2 the isle and so on until Dec 24 when its at least 2 isles of Christmas stuff.

We had one unofficial work Christmas party on November 16, the official one is on December 11.

I know that in my family we never put up decorations or start sending cards until after the 1st of December.

The Coles down the road from us had Christmas stuff on sale starting mid August this year. I thought it was a bit much, and my mum actually complained to the checkout clerk at the time who said that they’d been getting quite a few, but since it’s a franchise couldn’t really do anything about it.

Anyhoo, since I’m half-Canadian my mum (who’s the Aust half) always has a thanksgiving lunch that we invite any American and Canadian friends to. We don’t start any sort of Christmas stuff till December though, and don’t put up the tree till Christmas Eve.

Japan has a day they call Thanksgiving…it was last week sometime…this is according to my calendar at work anyway.

There’s a shop on Parramatta Road that sells Christmas stuff only. Since early October every time I’ve driven by they have had some poor bastard in a Santa suit waving to the traffic. On Monday he was there although it was 42.5C (108.5F) in the shade, which I might add he was not.

About a month before the Winter Festival.

That means, yeah, about right now.

Stupid Hallmark stores have had their stupid Christmas ornaments on stupid display since stupid July the last two years running.

I’m boycotting Hallmark out of sheer disgust.

Generally, though, the frenzy really fires up after Halloween.

No “official” start to the Christmas season around here. leechbabe’s shop aisle analysis is accurate though.

Thankfully, I haven’t seen ANY Christmas decorations so far. Early Christmas trend aside, I think many shops are sensitive to the fact the people despise seeing festive crap in October.