By Dan St. Yves
Despite my staunch refusals to cave in to peer pressure year after year, I finally conceded defeat about a week or so ago. I turned on our exterior Christmas/Annual Festive Holiday/Seasonal Affective Lighting about a week ago. Hey, there’s a few orange ones up there to include Halloween!
I had hoped to wait until at least Dec. 1, but every other home on the street had already begun flaunting their displays. I may as well have slapped up a giant flashing billboard on my own roof, broadcasting, “The Grinch lives here”. Who am I trying to kid by not getting on the early Noel bandwagon as well?
The writing was on the wall well before November though. Most big box stores were quietly piling up Christmas decorations along the walls while they were putting out Halloween decorations on the main display shelves. Some shameless retailers even started to tout their plastic reindeer and elves in plain view of shoppers, while fellow staff members were pasting “Back to School” banners around the sales floor. Pretty soon, you won’t have images of carefree youngsters in shorts tossing frisbees at the beach in August, it’ll be old Saint Nick, with a wink and a little button on his red muscle shirt, advising shoppers “not to forget Dec. 25 – it’s coming faster than you think!”
The worst offenders, Walmart and Costco, had full-blown Christmas displays up before the end of September. I think they stacked those right on top of the adorable but flattened toy Easter bunnies.
Of course, the retail trending for the holiday season has always had a firm root in early urgency for shoppers. How many of us have purchased decorations and deep-discounted consumer products on Boxing Day? Or even around a week after Christmas, when the Nutcracker dolls look like they’ve been having fistfights after the store has closed, clashing over who was going to take Barbie to the New Year’s Eve bash at the Stardust Ballroom?
I don’t know about you, but if I ever hear It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas in The Bay around mid-July, I won’t know whether to drive up to the North Pole or The Canadian Retailers’ Association, but I do know that someone will have some explaining to do. Is it asking too much to at least have the leaves start turning brown before we ramp up the media outlets to promote Christmas?
I have been receiving your seductive messages, universe – and have started to leave the newspaper ads scattered around my wife’s favourite wing chair. Perhaps it’s not too early to start leaving subliminal and helpful hints if I hope to see that iPad Pro under the tree come Dec 25.
Until then, despite knowing how appealing a home decorated for the holidays is to potential buyers, I’ll just continue to complain to anyone willing to listen about how early retailers get into the holiday spirit.