The Christmas Creep … It’s Real!

Every holiday has two seasons … it’s actual season and its creep season. The latter is that time of year when people complain that it’s too soon to be selling decorations, cards, costumes or other items for that particular holiday. Or how about back-to-school season starting in July! “Christmas Creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers introduce Christmas – themed merchandise or decorations – before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, which in the US is on the day after Thanksgiving.

It is alleged that Sam’s Club was the pioneer of introducing early Christmas sales to support resellers with Lowe’s following in 2000 with a policy of setting out Christmas trees and decorations by October 1 because Halloween and Thanksgiving don’t provide enough merchandise or sales to fill retail space between the end of summer and the Christmas season.

Do you remember Charlie Brown’s “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” which debuted in 1974 … where the Peanut’s gang went shopping for decorated eggs only to find the store was brandishing Christmas gifts … IN APRIL?? Charlie Brown responds with a banner that reads “ONLY 246 DAYS UNTIL XMAS.”

More than 40 years later, “Christmas creep” is alive and well. Many retailers wanting to be the first to get the shopping season going bring out Christmas-themed merchandise, decorations and MUSIC long before the “official” start of the holiday season.

But REVOLUTION is in the air! Target is taking a stand! In response to customer feedback, a Target spokesperson said they will ease up on Christmas signs and displays at the front entrances of their stores until after Thanksgiving. In the past, Target jumped into the Yuletide arena right after Halloween. According to their spokesperson, “They [customers] want us to pause, and be really intentional and recognize Thanksgiving … what they don’t want us to do is go right into Christmas. So we’re going to respect that.”

It is to be noted that Target is not completely giving up on Christmas in November … this year’s change is only to the signage at the front entrances of the stores. As minor as a change it may be, it has the potential to become a political football.

Only time will tell!

That brings me to when is the right time for Santa to set up shop at the malls? Or Christmas music to make its debut?

Here’s five different views on when to start playing holiday carols: (

  1. The Hater

The Hater doesn’t want to hear ANY Christmas tunes … especially in November. They may be able to tolerate a little on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day … but never ever before or after.

  1. The Decemberist

The Decemberist likes listening to holiday music during the month of December … only during December. These folks more than likely want to keep Christmas music special and would like to have it played during the “25 days of Christmas”.

  1. The Holiday Appreciator

Why wait until December when you can start listening to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the last holiday before Christmas so this would be the perfect time to start listening … or so that is what the Holiday Appreciator feels. Each holiday should have its own day to shine according to this group. They feel that if you start playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, you’ll forget about celebrating Thanksgiving. (This would be me!)

  1. The Loyalist

The Loyalist declares November 1st as the perfect day to start listening to Christmas carols. They go from listening to the Monster Mash a million times directly to Deck the Halls. This person adores the Christmas spirit and wants to make the most of it while also trying to be somewhat conservative about when to start.

  1. The True Believer

The True Believer is a rare bird. They put us all to shame (or annoy the heck out of us) by listening to Christmas music year round. Don’t be surprised if you get into their car in June and have a version of Jingle Bell Rock blasting on their radio. You know this person … we all do! And we love them for their uniqueness … to a point! But when I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas is playing when it’s 95 degrees, it could get a little annoying. (This would be my son!)

And you? Where do you fall?

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