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Christmas Creep - How Early Is Too Early for the Holiday Season Hoopla?

Updated on February 11, 2020

Every December, millions, even billions of people around the world celebrate the most wonderful time of every year: Christmas.

Children write their lists of wants - whether in the forms of the latest toys or just non-material stuff like peace - to Santa Claus. Shoppers brave long lines and search for parking spaces in full lots to buy gifts for others. Relatives flock to other relatives' houses to gather them together for the ritual holiday dinner and meet them. Catholics make an effort to stay awake during midnight Masses at their local parishes to remind them of the birth of Jesus.

But what if all of that occur before Turkey Day? Would Christmas lose its magical touch? Would people cringe each time "Winter Wonderland" plays pre-Halloween? Would they put censor signs on catalogs that peddle Christmas sales in August? Unfortunately, that's all coming true in recent times.

This phenomenon, called Christmas creep, sickens people who believe that all the Christmas hoopla should occur starting on Black Friday, after Thanksgiving.

Inside's a winter wonderland,
I'm sorry - I don't understand
'Cause mistletoe on Veteran's Day seems wrong.

- Paul and Storm

Why Christmas Comes Way Too Early

There are reasons why Christmas is promoted and pushed too early. They want to generate more revenue before December, to lure shoppers who usually fight for the latest toy to start their gift shopping beforehand, and to beckon those who want to buy decorations before the rush. The actual month of Christmastide (the days before that) is the month where consumers are too vigilant in terms of money to buy gifts. So they use a bait-and-switch approach to sell the season even in June.

It's not just America that has the problem - the UK takes advantage of a too early Yuletide by calling the selling season "the golden quarter." The early promotion enables retailers to earn more profit even before the holiday rush begins, since even before the phenomenon became widespread and mentioned as "Christmas creep."

But there's another underlying reason for early occurrences for Christmas. Once upon a time, the Philippines held the longest Christmas season in the world because Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations are rare.

With all the yuletide promotion happening starting in July or even early June, many people think that the United States breaks the record for the longest Christmas season in the world. It's like an arms race to see which nation promotes the jolly holidays the earliest, but it supplements the race for more pre-holiday profits.

Online writers who work on seasonal content benefit greatly on the too-early Christmas sales. When one writes an article on caring for Christmas trees around the same time stores put up pine wreaths alongside school supplies, he or she allows it to age. What I mean is that it gradually builds up traffic and gains a following from the search engines. In fact, some are not bothered much by Santa season crowding out the fall holidays.

Taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, FL, Oct. 2009
Taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, FL, Oct. 2009

What A Too-Early Christmas Looks Like

If you have walked in any store in recent years each October (or even earlier), chances are that you have seen stores hauling out the holly and the ivy. You might have seen a forest of plastic Christmas trees waiting to grace many a typical living room each Christmas before kids go trick-or-treating.

If you have set out on a quest to buy costumes for your kids, you may have seen skeletons and ghouls sitting adjacent to Santa Claus merchandise and snowmen on the store shelves. As I read from experiences from other readers, this is what Christmas before post-Thanksgiving Friday looks like, and that's just the small part of it.

Most catalogs usually start selling Christmas merchandise and decorations before Thanksgiving, but in recent times, some do so before Halloween. A few catalogs roll out sales of holiday merchandise in the middle of July, and that bugs people who think it's too early for that.

Taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, FL, Oct. 2009
Taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, FL, Oct. 2009

What A Too-Early Christmas Sounds Like

In recent years, radio stations push and push seasonal favorites - ranging from the traditional to the current and from the religious to the secular - before roasted turkeys grace each Thanksgiving table or even before kids ask for candy from neighbors in their Halloween clothes.

It's for the same purpose - to get people into the holiday shopping moods and to make bucks out of it before they face the Black Friday stampedes.

If you turn on the radio station mornings before Halloween to listen to easy listening favorites or other music you fancy, I dare you not to whine when some brass quintet plays "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" plays on the air on your way to work, school, or wherever. If you don't like it, pop in a CD or mp3 player all with non-holiday music.

AAAAHHH!!! - Typical Listener Who Thinks It's Too Early for Christmas

But the sounds of an early Christmas do not confine themselves to the airwaves.

Even things you wouldn't hear even before retailers promote the holiday season alongside jack-o-lanterns play tunes too early. Ice cream trucksare great examples of businesses less likely to sell their products when Christmases are cool to cold in many areas. Many people wish that they should play "Turkey in the Straw" or other non-holiday songs. But the drivers want their consumers to dive into the consumerist spirit by blaring out "We Need A Little Christmas."

Whether you get inside you car for work or just chill out each fall, I bet you would feel the same when you hear "Jingle Bells" on the radio once families start decorating porches with ghouls and pumpkins.

Isn't It Too Early for That?

Well, not for them, myriad retailers and businesses say.
Well, not for them, myriad retailers and businesses say. | Source

Is Christmas creep ever going away? As long as retailers want to gain more revenue ahead of time, I doubt it. You just can't escape a big-box store that sells Santas alongside spiderwebs in September, but you can cope with the creep. Those who are just fed up with early Yuletide music should rent audiobooks and listen to them on the go or drive with no radio on.

If you're going grocery shopping but you're in the only supermarket in town and it has a bunch of Christmas paraphernalia on the shelves, dig your heels and deal with it. Many an oh-so-early Yule is not going to go away in the future.

After all, retailers and businesses need a little Christmas for sales' sake anyway.

In Conclusion, Here's the (Unofficial) Christmas Creep Anthem!

When Is Christmas too Early?

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