Christmas Creep Already Beginning In Mid-September

Sep 20, 2018, 8:03 PM | Updated: 9:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Don’t look now, but Christmas is already sneaking into stores and Halloween is still over a month away. While the holiday creep makes some of us groan, we shouldn’t expect it to go away soon.

This week, KSL saw a Salt Lake area Lowe’s setting up its holiday aisle with lights, ornaments and other Christmas decorations. A nearby Walmart didn’t have any decorations up, but it did have balloons heralding the retailing giant’s holiday layaway program. Costco was further along with is holiday display, complete with nativities, holiday villages, lighted reindeer and Christmas trees already blinking.

Cindy Cathey says she would rather not see any holiday décor in September.

“It creates a little bit of stress,” Cathey said. “There’s so many things you have to do for the holidays, sometimes it might be a stresser.”

“If it’s coming three months in advance for me, I’d rather be focused on something entirely different,” said Joanna Wiser. “So, maybe December 1st, but before then lets enjoy Thanksgiving (and) Halloween. To start prepping three or four months in advance feels really like marketing.”

“It’s such a competitive time, and a really important time for retailers,” explained University of Utah marketing professor Andrea Thomas. “They are always thinking of ways they can outdo their competition.”

Thomas believes holiday creep bothers many of us, because we want holidays to have their own time and space.

“They say, ‘Let me have my autumn. I really want it to be all about Halloween right now,’” Thomas added.

Online retailers can offer holiday items anytime. That puts much more pressure on brick-and-mortar stores to be top of mind, earlier.

“They (offline retailers) have to make a decision six months, nine months out when things are going to be in stores. So, they’ve probably been watching what’s going on e-commerce,” explained Thomas. “They made decisions that ‘we’ need to be there for customers that have started to look for Christmas items a lot earlier.”

Retailers also count on at least some shoppers getting a little early holiday inspiration by walking past a display.

“They want to be the first one to grab your dollar by being the first one to inspire you earlier in the season,” said Thomas.

It’s one reason why Halloween candy tends to show in supermarket aisles in early August.

“People buy it and they eat it and they buy more of it,” said Thomas. “So, you sell more. So, if you wait until the week before you only sell what you put in front of people.”

Thomas points out many offline retailers have to base their selling decisions on what happened last year.

“They have to make these decisions so everything is there when you’re ready to spend,” said Thomas.

Consumers have some blame for Christmas creep.

“I think it’s us,” said Braun Bailey when we asked him who is responsible for holiday creep. “The people who actually buy it. If we buy it in September, they’re going to sell it in September.”

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