Too much Christmas…

Written by: Marvin Baker

I think most people will agree that Christmas was around too long and now that it’s in the rear-view mirror we wonder where the time went.

Honestly, I could have written this article two months ago, but I refused, waiting until Christmas was past before voicing my opinion about said holiday.

I get why retailers start with Christmas early. They aren’t going to win the lottery, but will get some trickle sales leading up to Christmas.

But before Halloween?
I won’t name the retailers that had Christmas decorations and Christmas items out for sale before Oct. 31. What I will say is those stores weren’t too busy selling Christmas items before the end of October.

Another oddity seems to be in radio. There’s a radio station in Minot and one in LaCrosse, Wis., that started playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. The Minot station even advertised that right after Thanksgiving it would switch over to Christmas music.

What actually happened was Christmas music started playing a couple of days before Thanksgiving.
Then, there’s Black Friday, an unofficial holiday that ushers in the Christmas season. At least “black Friday” retailers waited until the day after Thanksgiving rather than a week or two before Halloween.

Does anyone actually know what Black Friday means? I’m going to assume it’s called that because every retailer’s books are in the black for that day, hence the name?

There’s another day called Black Tuesday and that was one day in history, Oct. 29, 1929. Nobody made money that day. It’s when the stock market collapsed which started the Great Depression.

Some of us are traditionalists. We like to wait until several days… several days, before Christmas to do our shopping. There’s more of an atmosphere, we know we are buying gifts for family and friends and we know it’s all leading up to Christmas Eve.
I’ve always been that way. I could do all my shopping on two or three days before Christmas. I guess I’m old enough now to say that it’s more festive that way, like it used to be. Watch the old movies from the 1930s and ‘40s and you’ll understand what I’m referring to here.

And when you live in a small town, that festive mood becomes even more apparent. Small-town retailers aren’t going to do a Christmas marketing splash before Halloween because so few people would make purchases, it wouldn’t be worth it.
In my adult life, I’ve lived in numerous small towns and that last week or last couple of weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday makes it special for everyone shopping retail in those communities.

And it doesn’t seem to matter what small town it is, they all have that Christmas festive atmosphere. They wait until after Thanksgiving to market Christmas sales and they wait until after Thanksgiving to have their Christmas parades. Consumers like it because of the festive atmosphere and retailers like it because they’re making money.

But in the larger communities I’ve lived; Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Fargo and Jamestown, it seems it’s just the opposite. All those retailers want your holiday dollars early and so the Christmas retail season starts two months before we open gifts.
I guess it depends on what you like. We’ll go to Florida in February or March and we’ll see entire stores in St. Pete selling Christmas items all year round. That’s their niche and it seems to work. But it’s because there’s only a few stores doing that in the United States.

But when everyone does it, the pie slices get smaller. Unfortunately, nobody wants to miss out, even on a small slice of pie so the Christmas season begins long before it once did.

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