Christmas in October

Every year as the hot weather dwindles and Halloween passes without much warning, people are made aware of the quickly approaching holiday season. As Thanksgiving draws near, people swap their Jack-o- lanterns for big blow-up Santas. Halloween wasn’t even over for a full day before people hum Christmas music.

While walking through Target, before Halloween, one would have guessed that it was mid-December with all the Christmas displays. This leaves mixed emotions. I can’t hide the fact that holidays are my, and most peoples’, absolute favorite and I’m a huge grinning mess from October through December. But I can’t help but wonder why the holiday season gathers this following of people so soon.

Christmas gains attention soon after Halloween and this year is no exception. It seems like every year the Christmas decorations come out sooner and sooner. Walmart, for example, had faux Christmas trees and twinkle lights out before all the Halloween decorations had been displayed. Target, Walmart, Garden Ridge and Macy’s employees all unanimously said Christmas marketing begins at the end of September.

September is when most people are still in summer- mode reminiscing about their beach getaways. At the same time, stores are rigorously preparing for the season that brings them significant revenue. The National Retail Federation runs quantitative data to give people an idea of how retailers will fare during holiday seasons. According to the data this year, NFR said, “Each year, about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.”

While most retailer companies do not begin holiday advertising until at least October or November, retailers recognize that many people like the idea of shopping early to spread out spending over a long period of time. As a result, many retail workers put holiday merchandise on the shelves in September. They want to be prepared for early-bird shoppers who want to be done with shopping by the time the rest of America gets around to scrambling for last-minute gifts. The holidays can be expensive and because families are struggling, having a solid three months to spread spending can help.

Stores prepare in many ways, most set out miles of fake snow over green and red displays. Customers can walk in and feel cheery, thus nudging them to spend more and start gathering gifts. Major retail stores prepare for the influx of customers they receive from Halloween to Christmas by pushing early sales and having holiday hours for shoppers. After speaking with representatives from Town Center Mall, Target and many other stores, they all stressed the importance of holiday hours. Opening earlier and staying open later starting in November ultimately makes sales go up.

Advertisers are aware of demands for early Christmas preparations as television commercials swing drastically from typical every day ads to cozy fireside visions that focus on family, holiday cooking and great deals. People aren’t aware of the switch in advertisements until they are bombarded with Christmas jingles. Holiday ad flooding ends up getting people ready to spend their money, which is a good sign to retailers who spend a huge amount of time preparing for a strong holiday season to bring profits.

Starting Christmas and end of year holiday promotions earlier ends up bringing more customers and ultimately benefits customers and retailers. There are, of course, those courageous people who brave the storm of people as they finish their shopping on Christmas Eve, and those people are the ones who get aggravated with decorations being on display so soon. Starting early might be awkward, but the cheer and presents can certainly make up for that.