By: Malena Esposito
“I can’t believe they’re putting out Christmas decorations before it’s even Halloween!” says everyone ever.
Ah, yes. The recurring complaint that Christmas comes way too early. That you’re seeing snowmen at the same time you’re seeing American flags for Labor Day. That it’s still eighty degrees outside, yet there’s eggnog in the dairy section of the grocery store. This frustration surprisingly has a name attached to it. The name’s Creep. Christmas Creep.
Christmas Creep is the term used to describe the trend of retailers displaying holiday merchandise earlier with each passing year, therefore, “creeping” up sooner and sooner. But why do retailers do this? Wouldn’t it be just as annoying to hear jingle bells in the storage room in July as it is it be looking at clown masks and Santa hats in the same aisle? The primary reason for stalking the shelves and decking the halls months in advance is because of strategic marketing. Stores tend to make the most money during the colder, more festive months of the year, so why not extend that period and make a bigger buck?
Another main reason stores display the Christmas commodities so soon is because of competition. Since many shoppers go store to store to compare prices, retailers have to introduce the idea that they carry holiday merchandise early. With this idea set in their consumer’s minds, their shoppers know which stores have what, making it more likely for a purchase to be made.
Although it’s not a popular perspective, there are several benefits to starting your Christmas shopping early. December tends to be one of the craziest shopping times of the year, with consumers often scrambling to buy last-minute gifts and decorations. Shopping prior to the holiday season often results in less hassle and more time to enjoy the festive period. Preseason shopping can also lead to more thoughtful gifts. How many times have you seen the perfect present for that special someone yet failed to grab it off the shelf, causing you to buy a bottom-of-the-bucket generic gift when you know they deserve better? Buying presents early prevents this disappointment, giving you more time to consider the gift that you’re proud to give.
Despite the fact that Christmas Creep can certainly be considered the most annoying part about the holiday season (–ahem, preseason), it definitely serves a purpose. So maybe next time you’re groaning over seeing snowmen in eighty degree weather, look around and see if you can get on top of your Christmas shopping.