Once upon a time, when I was young, Christmas seemed to slowly fade in as December grew longer. I don't ever remember an exact day for the official beginning of the Christmas season. It just seemed like more decorations would appear, as if by magic, as you got close to the 25th.
When I got older, I ended up working retail for a while. By this time, there was an unofficial start to the holiday season; black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving. The day before, nothing. The day after, it was Christmas season. Decorations, sales, music, the whole works. While I missed the easing into the holidays, it didn't run on long enough to wear out its welcome.
Then the creep began.
I don't remember when it happened, but after I'd gotten out of retail, someone broke ranks and started gearing up for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Not wanting to be outdone (or miss any potential sales,) others followed suit. The Christmas season was starting earlier and earlier each year. Retailers stocked trees and candy canes earlier in November. Radio stations raced to be the first to go all Christmas music. Etc., etc., etc.
This year, about a week and a half before Halloween, I saw the first signs of Christmas. I really couldn't believe it. But more followed. I just got back from Target and here, a week after Halloween, they're practically in full-on Christmas mode. My wife has reported already hearing Christmas tunes in the stores.
Now, I understand that people like Christmas. Who doesn't? But I really think this is getting ridiculous. Do we really need almost two months of Christmas season?
Yes, I am a cynic, but I have a hard time seeing this as anything more than retailers, who are anticipating poor end of year sales, trying to get people to buy as much crap they don't need. I know, that's all the retail game ever is. But, when it's barely November and I'm already being suggested "great gift ideas" in ads, the game feels even more blatant than it already is.
Speaking of the economy, can we call it a recession yet? Who isn't worried about things? Who doesn't have less money in their pocket than they did a year ago? Given that, I understand why retailers might be making the hard push earlier. But, I can't help but wonder if consumers aren't going to be a bit fatigued come December.
With Christmas season starting so early this year, I just can't believe I'm the only one who feels a little cynical about it already. In a year when people are having to tighten the financial belts, how are the Joe Sixpacks going to feel about nearly two months of being told to buy, buy, buy, in the name of Christmas? I'll be real surprised if by December 25th I'm the only one who feels Christmas may have overstayed its welcome this year.