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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 21-Dec-14


Sunday 21-December-14

An American Christmas in Britain

Last month in America was Thanksgiving, the US holiday where everyone goes home and hugs their relatives. Well, hopefully. Turkeys get eaten and one gets pardoned. We didn't have that in Britain this year, but we did have Black Friday. And how. The one-day (ish) super-sale designed to get Americans in a buying mood for Christmas arrived here this year with a bang. It made the headlines of the news as wild shoppers scrambled through Asda for the bargain television sets. Asda, by the way, is a UK grocery and goods store that is owned by Wal-Mart. Coincidence? Probably not. Plenty of other stores played the game too. Amazon (US also, of course) had lightning sales for the whole week, and, by the 'sold out' signs, did very well from it.

It looks like Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) is replacing the New Year sales as the mad rush time. Over the past few years, the sales that used to start on January 1st that were intended to get the consuming public buying again after the Christmas splurge have become diluted. Many now start before Christmas as retailers try to shift excess stock into the Christmas market rather than having to discount them even more to get people buying when their wallets are pretty much empty. It makes sense to go for the late Christmas shoppers as this is in the major selling period for many retail firms.

Christmas in the UK perhaps looks something like Christmas in the USA, with visiting relatives and steaming turkeys, although perhaps Americans just do something like Thanksgiving all over again, just with presents and trees. I look around and think, 'How much of this is traditionally British?' And of course the Santa we all know and love was invented by Coca Cola. Wasn't it? Well, at least the jolly image we see now was. Before the 1931 Coke ads, Santa had various images ranging from tall and gaunt to short and elfin.

I'm not at all anti-American, by the way, but I do wonder where the identity of the UK is going (and Americanisation is just a part of the bigger 'who are we' question). Perhaps it is all a part of globalizing the globe. Maybe one day we'll all be a lot more integrated and harmonious, though sadly it doesn't seem like any day soon.

Anyway, whatever your nationality or wherever you're living, have a splendid Christmas.

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