Santa himself could probably sum up this holiday season in two words: Oy vey.
One of the most topsy-turvy holiday seasons since the invention of the shopping mall begins on Thanksgiving with Hanukkah. Wait, make that, it begins on Hanukkah with Thanksgiving.
No, there won't be eight days of Thanksgiving this year - or one day of Hanukkah. But the confusion is understandable. This also is the very first holiday season when Thanksgiving Day becomes the new Black Friday, except it's on Thursday night.
Holiday shoppers - and sellers - have another headache: a serious seasonal shopping squeeze. There are, after all, a scant 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which means less time to buy and sell stuff - and less time to beg, bribe or bamboozle consumers into diving for the deals.
"It might seem that time is out of joint this holiday season," says Robert Thompson, pop culture professor at Syracuse University. "But Pilgrims and Maccabees make some sense as allies in the dining table centerpiece. Each fought against the odds - and won."
So, who wins this holiday season: shoppers or sellers?
Perhaps neither. The familiar 'Happy Holidays' greeting has arguably been twisted this season into "Wacky Holidays." Never mind that the National Retail Federation has projected that spending will be up 3.9% to $602.1 billion this year. That may be more prayer than prediction.