Retailers: Leave Our Holidays Alone!

| October 2, 2008 | 16 Comments

Apples in a mesh bag
I was appalled yesterday afternoon when the kids and I watched as employees at Target consolidated Halloween gear to make room for the Christmas decorations. I was annoyed today when I could barely navigate a cart through HomeGoods because of the plethora of Halloween decor. But Linens-n-Things? They’ve gone too far. Not only have they handed over the front two large sections to Christmas gear, but they are playing Christmas carols in that area. Christmas carols. On October 1.

Retailers in the United States have gone too far.

We’ve barely left summer behind. The trees are only just beginning to change to brilliant shades of reds, yellows and orange. Halloween is still a month away. We’re in apple-picking season. It’s time for hayrides and pumpkin patches. I still need to find the perfect costumes for Will and Paige. Haunted houses and spooky hayrides are calling …

Yet, when you go to these mass retailers, you are smacked in the face with a holiday that is yet three months away. I don’t like getting smacked. I am not ready for the cheer of Christmas to invade my psyche.

This rushing of holidays — Halloween being packed away before we even need to tuck into soft sweaters — is a prime example of retailers trying to over-capitalize on holidays. Do you remember the days when retailers didn’t revolve their displays around holiday-pegged merchandise? When you could go to Caldor’s in September and just get some ball-fringe curtains without having to duck through racks of shiny ornaments and happy holidays greeting cards? I miss those days.

It’s not yet time for the glittering lawn snowmen and twinkling lights displays to tempt me. In fact, they serve only as a turnoff. I am very tempted to just not shop at Target, Linens-n-Things, and other holiday rushing retailers until the holiday is actually here. In my book, that is the day after Thanksgiving.

But then, what will be on display come November? Will Christmas gear be banished to a corner to make room for heart-shaped displays since Valentine’s Day will only be a few short months away?

I understand that retailers are concerned about making their budgets for the year. I even understand that someone somewhere honestly believes that if you deck the shelves with holly and tinsel, people will buy whether it’s June or December. Perhaps some people even will.

Not me though. And frankly, for me, it’s just a matter of choice not to waste my gas driving to the mass marketers when I can shop local stores. Sure, it might cost a little more, but so does driving to the big mass retailers, so it kind of all evens out.

Frankly, I think that mass retailers are stealing the joy from the holidays by shoving them down our throats way before their arrival. It’s not fair — not to shoppers, not to people working hard to stay afloat, not to parents, not to kids, not to anyone.

What do you think? Are you disgusted by the rushing of holidays?

Category: rants

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a writer, editor and recipe developer who loves to create delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy together. Her work has appeared in countless publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Maine with her two food-loving kids.

Comments (16)

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  1. Well put. I’ve taught Nicholas to know get agitated about the very same thing. Our mantra in the stores is “one holiday at a time,” and we just turn a blind eye to the rest.

  2. Deb says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you. Fall is the most beautiful season of all. Just to take a drive on a long country road taking in all the beauty along the way. Knowing Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A day we share with our loved ones. Now is not the time to be reminded of all the pressure & anxiety that comes along with the Christmas season. Every Holiday is so capitalized with all the advertising to buy buy buy. If only we could turn back the time & enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. To me Christmas is a time we get together, catch up on all the goings on, cooking ect. It’s not suppose to be on how many gifts we’re suppose to buy. Going more into debt with all the other pressures of just trying to survive.

  3. Tonia says:

    I agree 100%. Mike & I were talking about this very thing just the other day. The stores make you sick of Christmas before the season even begins. The retailers think they are doing us a favor, but they are actually stealing away the magic & anticipation of the season.

  4. maris says:

    They were playing Christmas music in my nail salon last week…I thought it was really weird!

    I understand the need for these chain stores to compete with each other but Christmas decorations in September is just wrong! At least wait until Holiday #1 is over before decorating for Holiday #2 – it takes away from the enjoyment of the present!

  5. Paula says:

    I hate it too! It takes away from the magic of the season. By Christmas I’m just plain sick of it all. I wish no retailers would even bring out christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving. wishful thinking I guess!!!

  6. Yvette says:

    You’re lucky – at least you have Halloween as a buffer. Here in Australia we’ve had to put up with Christmas decorations and carols since Sept 1. It make me feel sick having to think about it 3 months out, and I totally agree that it takes the magic out of Christmas.

    I would be interested to hear whether this type of advertising actually helps them sell Christmas decorations, or whether everyone rebels against it until December anyway.

  7. Tonia says:

    I have to add one more thing… When my sister & I were kids, I remember that my mom didn’t really decorate our house until between the 10th & 15th of December. I think that’s part of what made Christmas so magical back then – the excitement lasted until Christmas day finally arrived because we hadn’t been looking at Santa for 60 to 90 days. :)

  8. Vickan says:

    It’s ridiculous! I thought it was only Wal-Mart doing it… I guess I haven’t been to that many stores lately… thank goodness, I guess I should say.

    I am still wearing sandals and short-sleeved shirts! There should be a law against holiday decorations this early.

  9. Nicky says:

    I have to disagree with everyone else here. I love the holidays and I don’t mind getting a little extra time to enjoy it. Granted the stores aren’t doing it to gives us more time to enjoy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited that the holidays are coming!

  10. Patti says:

    Well, I agree with everyone, except, I guess, Nicky…I love the holidays too, but I am ready to enjoy autumn! I love pumpkins and mums and scarecrows and beautiful foliage and all things fall.

  11. Ronnie says:

    I feel the same way and I’m in the business! I am a giftware designer and illustrator so I am working on Christmas almost daily all year long! I get soooo saturated with the images, but I still want it to be special for people, and frankly the retailers really do jump the gun. We have a policy at our house of no Christmas carols until at least 12/1. Love the blog by the way, just discovered it.

  12. Dawn says:

    I went to Europe for Octoberfest a few years ago, and they already had Christmas decorations out. Halloween is a minor holiday there (imported from here) and merited just a few store decorations.

    There is a big movement in the retail industry to try to get us to start shopping for Christmas earlier. As a marketer, I can’t blame them for trying to spread out their Christmas profits so they can pay their employees without taking out loans from ever-tightening banks.

    As a consumer, I’m not at Target to look at Frosty the Snowman. I want some witches!

    Great blog! I just subscribed after I found myself revisiting your website several times for your quiche and sweet potato fry recipes.

  13. Lisa Grant says:

    Beautiful blog you have. I am disgusted too. Christmas songs will be playing on the radio soon.

  14. Zoomie says:

    I agree so much that I’m absolutely refusing to purchase _anything_ out of its season – what other protest do we have? I buy Hallowe’en treats two days before. I don’t get Christmas stuff early, either; the result is I get a spindly little tree but I don’t care, I still want each season to be savored and enjoyed, not pushed aside for the one after the one after this one! Thanks for letting me rant!

  15. Angel says:

    I agree… what is with Christmas in October? Pretty soon it really will be Christmas in July!

  16. Candelaria says:

    Nothing more to add to the brilliant and insightful comments above except that I think that the early displays end up putting pressure on consumers and, for curmudgeons like me – make me less likely to buy. I like the pace of going from autumn to winter and the bustle of shopping (if I’m able to do so) in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
    My Mom buys our gifts in July often and sometimes that feels like cheating.

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