Off topic: Christmas comes but once a year (or does it?)
Thread poster: Krokodil
Krokodil
Germany
Local time: 23:06
German to English
+ ...
Oct 5, 2004

Hi folks,

This is to inquire when Christmas begins in your part of the world.

No, I don't mean according to the calendar, but according to the shops, and particularly supermarkets.

Here in Germany I've noticed a tendency over the last few years among supermarkets, large and small, to get started with Christmas as soon as the summer holidays are over at the end of August or beginning of September, in other words to stick piles of stuff like Lebkuchen, spiced biscuits, chocolate dressed up in fancy Christmas wrapping, Advent calendars etc. all over the place, usually cleverly placed so that it gets in people's way.

Or else it starts off in September in a discreet corner at the back of the store and then in the course of the next weeks gradually makes its way towards the front.

Does anyone have any idea why these stores have started doing this? Is the idea to cream off as much Christmas business as possible as early as possible, to distract people from today's problems by trying to make them think that Christmas is just around the corner, or what is it?

The worst thing is that there doesn't seem to be anything one can do about it. Quite frankly, I think it's sick.

What about you?


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:06
German to English
Comes earlier every year... Oct 5, 2004

Here in Rheinland-Pfalz, our local supermarket started displaying the typical Christmas calories in the last week in August. The friendly lady at the till just shook her head, along the lines of "Net ärge, nur wunne".

I think this is certainly part of an attempt to push up retail sales, but it also reflects a longer-term trend: 20 years ago, events such as Halloween or St. Valentine's Day were as good as unknown here in Germany, and even the range of Christmas cards was pretty small. That's all changed now, and it seems to me that every opportunity to increase retail sales has now been thoroughly exploited. Personally, I think you can take this commercialization or leave it, but it must be hell for parents of young kids (i.e. even more than it was 10-15 years ago..).

Krokodil wrote:

The worst thing is that there doesn't seem to be anything one can do about it. Quite frankly, I think it's sick.

What about you?


Well, you can ignore it for starters. And let's face it, there are far more serious problems here in Germany to *really* make you sick...

Robin


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skye
Germany
Local time: 23:06
English to German
Simply ignore it (if at all possible) Oct 5, 2004

I have noticed Christmas stuff being sold since the last week of august (so I think in about 5 years' time you get the first chocolate Santa Clauses shortly after Easter). I simply don't buy Christmas stuff until the advent time comes - but strangely enough there must be people buying it because gingerbread, Dominosteine etc. are hardly available in the shops anymore from the beginning of December (it's either sold out or the shops are already preparing for all that Valentine's Day or Easter merchandising).

And for a laugh (not new, but funny nevertheless - unfortunately in German):

Vorweihnachtlicher Stress im Herbst

Donnerstag, 12. September:
Schoenster Altweibersommer - Noch einmal Menschen in T-Shirt und Sandalen an den Kiosken und in den Strassencafes. Bisher keine besonderen Vorkommnisse in der Nordstadt von Hannover. Dann ploetzlich um 10:47 Uhr kommt der Befehl von Aldi-Geschaeftsfuehrer Erich B.: "5 Paletten Lebkuchen und Spekulatius in den Eingangsbereich!"

Von nun an ueberschlagen sich die Ereignisse. Zunaechst reagiert Minimal-Geschaeftsfuehrer Martin O. eher halbherzig mit einem erweiterten Kerzensortiment und Marzipankartoffeln an der Kasse.

15:07 Uhr: Edeka-Marktleiter Wilhelm T. hat die Mittagspause genutzt und operiert mit Lametta und Tannengruen in der Wurstauslage.

16:02 Uhr: Die Filialen von Penny und Plus bekommen Kenntnis von der Offensive, koennen aber aufgrund von Lieferschwierigkeiten nicht gegenhalten und fordern ein Weihnachtsstillstands - Abkommen bis zum 20. Oktober. Die Gespraeche bleiben ohne Ergebnis.


Freitag, 13. September:
07:30 Uhr: Im Eingangsbereich von Karstadt bezieht ueberraschend ein Esel mit Rentierschlitten Stellung, waehrend 2 Weihnachtsmaenner vom studentischen Nikolausdienst vorbeihastende Schulkinder zu ihren Weihnachtswünschen verhören. Zeitgleich erstrahlt die Kaufhausfassade im gleissenden Schein von 260.000 Elektrokerzen. Die geschockte Konkurrenz kann zunaechst nur ohnmaechtig zuschauen. Immerhin haben jetzt auch Kaufhof,REWE und Minimal den Ernst der Lage erkannt.

09:00 Uhr: Edeka setzt Krippenfiguren ins Gemuese.

09:12 Uhr: Minimal kontert mit massivem Einsatz von Rauschgoldengeln im Tiefkuehlregal.

10:05 Uhr: Bei Kaufhof verirren sich dutzende Kunde in einem Wald von Weihnachtsbaeumen.

12:00 Uhr: Neue Dienstanweisung bei REWE: An der Kaesetheke wird mit sofortiger Wirkung ein "Frohes Fest" gewuenscht. Die Schlemmerabteilung von Kaufhof kuendigt fuer den Nachmittag Vergeltungsmassnahmen an.


Samstag, 14. September:
07:00 Uhr Karstadt schaufelt Kunstschnee in die Schaufenster.

08:00 Uhr: In einer eilig einberufenen Krisenversammlung fordert der aufgebrachte Penny - Geschaeftsfuehrer Walter T. von seinen Mitarbeitern
lautstark: "Weihnachten bis zum aeussersten" und verfuegt den pausenlosen
Einsatz der von der Konkurrenz gefuerchteten CD: "Weihnachten mit Mireille Matthieu" ueber Deckenlautsprecher. Der Nachmittag bleibt ansonsten ruhig.


Montag, 16. September:
08:00 Uhr: Anwohner der Schaufelder Strasse versuchen mit Hilfe einer einstweiligen Verfuegung die nun von Kaufhof angedrohte Musikoffensive "Heiligabend mit den Flippers" zu stoppen.

09:14 Uhr: Ein Aldi-Sattelschlepper mit Pfeffernuessen rammt den Posaunenchor "Adveniat", der gerade vor Karstadt zum grosse Weihnachtsoratorium ansetzen wollte.

09:30 Uhr: Aldi dementiert. Es habe sich bei der Ladung nicht um Pfeffernuesse, sondern Christbaumkugeln gehandelt.

18:00 Uhr: In der Stadt kommt es kurzfristig zu ersten Engpaessen in der Stromversorgung als der von C&A beauftragte Rentner Erwin Z. mit seinem Flak-Scheinwerfer Marke "Varta Volkssturm" den Stern von Bethlehem an den Himmel zeichnet.


Dienstag, 17. September:
Die Fronten verhaerten sich; die Strategien werden zunehmend aggressiver.
10:37 Uhr: Auf einem Polizeirevier meldet sich die Diabetikerin Anna K. und gibt zu Protokoll, sie sei soeben zum Verzehr von Gluehwein und Christstollen gezwungen worden. Die Beamten sind ratlos.

12:00 Uhr: Seit gut einer halben Stunde beschiessen Karstadt, Kaufhof und C&A die Einkaufszone mit Schneekanonen. Das Ordnungsamt mahnt die Raeum- und Streupflicht an. - Umsonst!

14:30 Uhr: Teile des Stadtbezirks sind unpassierbar. Eine Hubschrauberstaffel des Bundesgrenzschutzes beginnt mit der Bergung von Eingeschlossenen. Menschen wie Du und ich, die nur mal in der schoenen Herbstsonne bummeln und in der Eisdiele das letzte Eis geniessen wollten.


In diesem Sinne - Frohe Weihnachten!!


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drmab
English to French
From one holiday to the other Oct 5, 2004

Here (Quebec), Christmas begins on November 1st. That, apparently, is because that is the day the stores take down the Halloween decoration and merchandize. To kill two birds with one stone, they take the opportunity to put up the Xmas decorations.

When they take down the holiday decoration, they put up the Valentine ones (keeping the Xmas red), after that comes Easter (keeping the chocolate), they, I guess, Mother's Day.

After that, we get a break until "back to school" which starts at the beginning of August (classes begin around Sept. 1st), then Halloween, of course.

So, I guess it's time to say "Happy Halloween!"

Marc


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Krokodil
Germany
Local time: 23:06
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Net ärge, nur wunne Oct 5, 2004

RobinB wrote:

Here in Rheinland-Pfalz, our local supermarket started displaying the typical Christmas calories in the last week in August. The friendly lady at the till just shook her head, along the lines of "Net ärge, nur wunne".

I think this is certainly part of an attempt to push up retail sales, but it also reflects a longer-term trend: 20 years ago, events such as Halloween or St. Valentine's Day were as good as unknown here in Germany, and even the range of Christmas cards was pretty small. That's all changed now, and it seems to me that every opportunity to increase retail sales has now been thoroughly exploited. Personally, I think you can take this commercialization or leave it, but it must be hell for parents of young kids (i.e. even more than it was 10-15 years ago..).

Krokodil wrote:

The worst thing is that there doesn't seem to be anything one can do about it. Quite frankly, I think it's sick.

What about you?


Well, you can ignore it for starters. And let's face it, there are far more serious problems here in Germany to *really* make you sick...

Robin





Sorry to display my ignorance, but what's meant by "wunne"? "Wundern?


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Seadeta Osmani  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:06
English to Croatian
+ ...
Whatever the reason... Oct 5, 2004

...it certainly puts pressure on people to eventually buy presents and all kinds of sweets, even those who might have gone with home-made cookies only.

We are being bombed with "beauty of spending" for any occasion, and as Christmas is deeply placed in people's lives, the marketing is also stronger. A grandma who wanted only to bake a cake for her grandson for Christmas, will now be tempted to buy him something, as she will be pressured with him watching carefully all those stuff in stores for months now and he surely is expecting something from her (even if he's maybe not).

In Croatia, it's end of October, beginning of November. 10 years ago it was beginning of December. 20 years ago... we had only quiet family celebrations, as we were living in Yugoslavia then.

The worst part is that, by the time Christmas actually comes, it goes by as if nothing happened, because we've been seeing it every day in November and December.

Seadeta


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Krokodil
Germany
Local time: 23:06
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The heart of the problem .... Oct 5, 2004

Seadeta Osmani wrote:


The worst part is that, by the time Christmas actually comes, it goes by as if nothing happened, because we've been seeing it every day in November and December.

Seadeta



Yes, that's just about it - true celebration seemed to disappear long ago.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:06
German to English
Nicht ärgern, nur staunen Oct 5, 2004

Krokodil wrote:

Sorry to display my ignorance, but what's meant by "wunne"? "Wundern?


is what it would be in Hochdeutsch, I suppose, but yes you're right, that's "wundern". Rhoihess dialect, and the "rg" in "ärge" is pronounced very like a Polish "rz" or the z with a dot on top (doesn't seem to display properly), the same way as "morge" (for "guten Morgen") is pronounced "morze" (not to be confused with "moie", which is "morgen"!). They don't teach you German dialects at school or university...

Robin

[Edited at 2004-10-05 12:59]


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Ingrid Lovric
Local time: 23:06
English to Croatian
+ ...
Christmas in Croatia Oct 5, 2004

The funny thing about Christmas in Croatia is that we officially begun celebrating it about 10 or so years ago. Of course, people were celebrating it during Yugoslavia and communism, but officially it was called New years day (Christmas as such was ignored and it was not good to be seen in church at that time, or at any time), and "politically aware" people would put up their Christmas tree on December 31, or a couple of days earlier, but not on Christmas Eve!

Nowadays, the shops start displaying Christmas goodies sometime in the middle of September - we still have some way to go until we reach Christmas in August
The same thing is with Easter and St. Valentine's day. In our tradition we have never celebrated St. Valentines Day, but since it is a very commercial holiday, as unfortunately most holidays are these days, stores try to make people buy things. I don't think they have a big success for that particular holiday, but Christmas and Easter are big spender holidays, by all means.

I must admit I love Christmas time, it's the best thing the winter offers, and my home looks like a fairy tale at that time of the year. I decorate the whole house, except for the Christmas tree which is traditionally decorated on Christmas Eve, and on January 6th, everything goes down. And every year I feel I need more decorations!

Happy holidays (a couple of months in advance!)

Ingrid


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:06
German to English
+ ...
Christmas in England, Hypocrisy and Family Values Oct 5, 2004

Hi Croc!

Well, you know about Christmas back in Blighty, anyway, but I was talking to a fellow Brit the other day and he told me that an idiot radio presenter had mentioned the number of shopping days till Christmas (that wouldn't be the first time)

Personally, I think England is slightly worse than Germany, but then a lot of our festivals are influenced by American traditions - We had Valentine's Day and Hallowe'en long before the Germans.

To be quite honest, the whole thing pisses me off (bah humbug;-)) I think a lot of people can be made to feel really bad if they are not able to be with their family or loved ones on that day - I know I've had to spend Christmas without family or partner before and the bloody advertising really rubs your nose in it. You feel obliged to have fun (just like carnival) but you're not always able to have it.

I like the Christmas atmosphere in Germany - mulled wine, Christmas markets, but sometimes things seem a bit forced. I remember how I spent last Christmas at the house of my boyfriend's dad's girlfriend and how we were forced to dress up smartly - I just think Christmas should be a time to be relaxed and feel at ease, not be forced to do something just because it's the done thing, but maybe that was just her and other Germans are more relaxed (although, in my experience, some Germans do seem to be overly worried about keeping up appearances).

Another thing I don't like about Christmas is the hypocrisy of it all. I mean, come on, it's a religious festival and all some kids care about is the pressies that Santa has desposited in their bulging stockings - There's got to be something wrong there! It reminds me a bit of Confirmation over here (another bug bear of mine), where some kids are "bribed" to say they believe in God by being given huge gifts like a new bike or computer. Before anyone gets offended - I'm sure there are the kids who do believe in God (but if they do, they won't be needing the huge presents anyway - it just seems kind of inappropriate), but in my experience a lot of kids just do it because it's the done thing - Just like baptism, but I better shut up here - I could go on forever about religion and I'm a bloody agnostic:-) These are, of course, merely my observations and obviously not applicable for all - No intention of offending.

I'm not really Miss Scrooge, but I wish Christmas were more about basic values - OK, presents are nice, but not the be all and end all - What's more important is the break you get and the opportunity to be with your family and, for those who are religious, the opportunity to celebrate Christ's birth, although Christmas has long since ceased to be just a religious festival - These days it's celebrated by all, whether religious or not.

Take care!

Sarah





[Edited at 2004-10-07 17:54]


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:06
English to Polish
+ ...
Sit back and relax.... Oct 6, 2004

and wait until the earlier "starting date" comes around full circle and hits December 15 (or so) again.

Supplementary question:
If Christmas starts earlier every year, why does everyone do their shopping on December 23 anyway?

Answer to the post:
In Poland the lights start going up in early November.

Cheers,
Pawel Skalinski


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Pablo Roufogalis
Colombia
Local time: 16:06
English to Spanish
Early Birds Oct 7, 2004

Starting Christmas sales early allows the shops to try to get rid of last year's inventory and have enough time to get this year's models in time.

In Venezuela, a "Children's Day" was promoted since a decade or so. It is in late July so it is sort of a "school passing" ocassion and just in time to order the current toys for Christmas.

Of course, all gifts being advertised for this "festivity" are last year's models.


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