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I understand the value of a positive mental attitude and I also consider myself a reasonably festive individual during the holiday season. Often in the month of December, I can be found at most social functions wearing my beloved Santa hat. However I don’t feel very festive in the beginning of October. Starting bright and early on the first of the tenth month, I was greeted at the local big box with jingle bells and light-up trees — WTF?

I’m not trying to be a schmuck here, but it was just shy of 100 degrees outside and only a few weeks after Labor Day and I’m getting hit with holiday time already. I rounded a corner and a giant sign said, “Only 85 shopping days left!” I grabbed the bag of charcoal I was there to get and had to leave before the time vortex catapulted me into the future.

Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive, like when my father talks about how expensive everything is now or when old people refer to any noise over a whisper as That Damn Noise.

What do you think? Am I ready for a “Get off my lawn” sign, or is this as early in the year as it feels like?


26 Responses to Editorial: Holiday Time?

  1. Sheila says:

    I agree with you. We had Christmas stuff come out about a week after the early Halloween candy in September.

    We live in the Virgin Islands and September/October definitely does not have a festive Christmas feel about it.

    One problem we have is that K-Mart (our only large store here) removes shorts during the winter… What winter? We are in the Caribbean. One winter they sold windshield ice scrapers… Maybe they could be useful for scraping boat bottoms…

    Just my take on things… So It Goes…

  2. george says:

    they have ruined the holidays. no spirit left after being drummed to submission. christmas stuff comes out here in late sept. its almost to the point that halloween and thanksgiving will become absorbed by christmas. i remember the excitement and all when christmas stuff was put out after thanksgiving. now its just another thing like getting curtains.

  3. Toolhearty says:

    Hey george… Happy Hallowthanksmas!

  4. BJN says:

    All hail the High Holy Days of Unfettered Capitalism! We’ve surrendered our culture to consumption and marketing. We can complain all we want, but unless there’s a mass movement away from making the holidays about consumption, retailers will take every opportunity to leverage sales by pushing out seasonal goods earlier and earlier.

  5. Toolhearty says:

    What’s really going on is that by making the Christmas season just a little bit earlier each year, retailers are trying to work their way around the calendar and get TWO Christmases in one year (and that will be a fantastic sales year).

  6. Mike says:

    It’s stupid early. Takes the steam out of Christmas time if you ask me. I think this stuff should arrive in stores around Thanksgiving.

  7. FredB says:

    I have decided my halloween costume will be Santa Claus. I’m good for the rest of the year.

  8. John says:

    I walked into Home Depot down the street from my house on Sept 18 and could have bought pumpkins, cornstalks, bales of straw and mums to decorate for fall and then walked another 50 ft and been ready for Christmas by buying a new tree, inflatable Santa, and a snowblower. At that moment I decided I’m not going into that store for any reason until Thanksgiving – My wife doesn’t think I can pull it off. Haven’t been in Lowes for a couple of weeks so it might be the same there. At least I’ll save some money.

    On a side note, if you need replacement bulbs for your Christmas tree after about Dec 1, you’re screwed. The Christmas stuff is being clearanced to make way for spring lawn and garden. Real useful when winter hasn’t even started in my area on Dec 1 and usually doesn’t break until mid or late March.

  9. Jaquandor says:

    It’s not just how early the Christmas stuff goes up that bothers me; it’s the way that the stuff for the NEXT holiday is up before the CURRENT one even gets here. In my neck of the woods, just try buying any Christmas-themed candy after December 20. You might find some on a clearance rack that’s been overwhelmed by Valentine’s Day candy. It’s not unlike how by the time it’s mid to late July and I realize I could use a new pair of shorts to replace the ones I just ripped, the store I like to buy clothes from has the fall parkas out. Ugh!

  10. Jim K. says:

    Know exactly how you feel. In college this led us to set up a tree one year decorated for Halloween. I still miss the pumpkin balls that were hanging from the boughs.

  11. Chris says:

    Bag of (char)coal, hah.

    Halloween candy has been out since Labor Day. Easter stuff shows up as soon as they finish Valentine’s Day closeouts. Valentine’s Day stuff shows up as soon as all the Christmas stuff is cleared off the shelves. It’s ridiculous.

    On the other hand, shopping for Christmas decorations the last week of the year is always a great way to save money!


  12. Fritz says:


    Somewhere along the way a festival of Christianity became a festival of consumerism. Here is my suggestion for the next few months. If you are not a Christian, buy nothing – no lights, trees, ugly blow up things for the lawn. Why celebrate a festival you do not believe in. Take what time off your employer gives and do something with good friends or family.

    If you are a Christian, still leave all the lawn ornaments, lights, artificial snow covered trees at the big box store. Leave the new clothes, toys, and electronics on the shelf. Give the money you save to a neighbor in need. Use the time that you save to immerse yourself in the spiritual side of Christmas.

    If we stop buying the stuff, they might stop making it, selling it and we’ll stop filling the landfills with it.

  13. fred says:

    I’m guessing that the marketing gurus have convinced the stores that if they put on the shelf early they will garner more of the impulse buying market (buy often and early?) – and we suckers have fallen right into line – thinking if we don’t get our next lawn ornament or string of lights now – the best selection (or any selection) will be gone by next week, If they didn’t or couldn’t make money on it – it wouldn’t be on display – so I guess collectively we have ourselves to blame.

  14. zoomzoomjeff says:

    Funny. I also was shopping in HD, picking up a bag of charcoal, and said Double You Tee Eff at the Christmas decorations in late September.

    Fritz–I agree with you. My family has made it a point each year for about the past 5-10 years that we hardly buy anything. Period. We try to focus back on what Christmas really means to us.

  15. Travis says:

    I think the Christmas stuff shouldn’t come out until after Thanksgiving. Halloween is way too early. And yes, you punks should get off my lawn.

  16. Mike says:

    Yeah, it’s crazy early. Like others, it burns the holiday spirit out of me by the time Christmas actually gets here!

  17. DW says:

    At least around here, it has always been this early. I worked at Sears, going on 20 years ago. We had the Xmas shop at least partially on the floor in early August. You see, the shipment ( A conex box right from China) arrived early summer and was clogging the all too small stockroom. So we put it out. The Xmas shop was usually fully set up by the first week in September.

    Retail ruined Xmas for me. Though one year it was actually hilarious. The black Friday sale at Sears included 2 hour sales on some items. One of which was a Craftsman Screwdriver set. It normally went for 16.99 or some such and the sale price was 7 bucks…

    Have you ever seen the Jerry Lewis Movie “Who’s minding the store?”. That was basically the scenario. Luckily we had cases and cases of these sets. However as soon as the ones on the sales floor were depleted it came down to me and the replenishment manager feeding an agitated mob these screwdriver sets from the stockroom door, locking ourselves in when we were out of stock…

  18. Rob says:

    Christmas stuff around here started early September (I live near Milwaukee, WI). I’ve recently become so disgusted with marketing orgy that is Christmas that I boycott _most_ of the Holiday. I’ll decorate the house (for the neighbors), and give my better half a (hopefully) special gift for putting up with me all year, but that’s it.

    In fact, I think Halloween has become more fun than Christmas…much less pressure to have “the perfect holiday.”

  19. paganwonder says:

    I’m doing my holiday shopping over at Instructables.com- I’m going to re-purpose/recycle a bunch of stuff gathering dust, follow some recipes for good eats, create decorations out of junk left from last year, etc. This spending for the sake of spending has worn out it’s welcome at my house.

  20. Bryan Thompson says:

    I tried to buy patio furniture from Lowe’s on 9/15, and they had replaced it with Christmas stuff!

  21. Wayne D. says:

    I only buy Christmas stuff AFTER Christmas. I refuse to spend $150 on a plastic tree when I can get it for $30 after Christmas. All I gotta do is store it. Same goes with lights.

  22. Simon says:

    Costco (In Canada anyway) puts out Christmas stuff at the end of August every year. They are pretty smart operation so I would think they do it because it works.

    I love Costco but notice that you have to buy ahead of season because once it’s gone, it’s gone!


  23. Toolaremia says:

    Folks, when you see shameless stuff like this the only way to stop it is to not buy. The other way that can help is talk to the manager of the offending stores and make their lives miserable. No need to be rude or disrespectful, but make it very clear why you think that rolling out holiday stuff this early is unacceptable, and take your time about it. If the managers have to spend all day listening to polite but long-winded customers about why what they are doing is wrong, they might get a clue.

  24. Chuck Cage says:

    @John: Having learned from the cheap-ass master (Sean), I only buy Christmas decorations between Christmas and New Years. I bet I’ve paid a grand total of $200 for everything Christmas-related I own (since I accepted the Sean plan) and I have two tress and a ton of decorations.

    @paganwonder: Booyah! Sean and I met the Instructables folks up in NYC for an ad sales meeting a while back and they’re nice people. Love the site, and I’m all for DIY vs. spend-spend-spend.

    @Toolaremia: Indeed. I’ll buy it on post-Xmas superclearance or not at all. And if they stop superclearnancing, I’ll probably just go the @paganwonder route and start making it myself. 🙂

  25. Jesse says:

    I was a bit disappointing that my store already has a little bit of Christmas stuff out. To be fair though it is a music store (as in musical instruments) and kids need to start practicing “Silent Night” now so they don’t drive the family away at the Christmas party recital is two months. And without the big signs that say “CHRISTMAS MUSIC” everyone would walk right part it and ask me “Why don’t you have any Christmas music?”.

  26. Chris says:

    The local paper just did a story on this:


    Pretty interesting read.


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