#NoEarlyXmas – Let’s Put Christmas in Its Place

Geek Culture Hacking the Holidays

Fair warning: this is a rant.

I went to Costco on Saturday, September 6th, 2014. It is still summer. Sure, the kids are back in school and it’s getting close to time to put away the barbecue for the year, but still, we have not yet reached Autumn, and there were Christmas items already out and on sale.

This needs to stop.

Summer Nativity
Summer Nativity – I half expect Balthazar in shorts and a tank-top.

I know, I know: I’m starting to sound like the old guy telling the darn kids to stay off my lawn (though I’m not worried about that as the drought here in California has pretty much killed our lawn anyway), but I’ve gotten to a point where I feel that a line must be drawn. Sure, we love the Christmas season. It’s a time of family and sharing that brings out, mostly, the best in people. It’s also a hugely commercial experience. Many companies make more over the season than in any other similar time period of the year. So it’s understandable that they want to stretch that out a little. But at what cultural cost?

If the Christmas merch is going up at the start of September, that means we’re spending ONE THIRD OF THE YEAR in the “Christmas Season.” Sure, it’s easy to say that it’s no big deal, just ignore it, but I can’t anymore. Doesn’t starting this early in some way diminish the other holidays just a bit? We’re celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, but hey, remember it’s also almost almost Christmas, which is so much more important you should be buying your fiberglass nativity scene NOW NOW NOW. And by spreading it out so long, aren’t we (insert intentional Lord of the Rings reference here) spreading it a little thin? How can Christmas really continue to be special, when it’s with us for so long?

Should we really be super-sizing Christmas?

I better get enough to last through Boxing Day.
I better get enough to last through Boxing Day.

Do I have a solution? Well, it’d be pretty silly to try and mandate rules. THOU SHALT NOT PUT UP YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE UNTIL THE THANKSGIVING TURKEY IS EATEN wouldn’t really go over. And I’m sure there are so many different family traditions about this stuff that even opening this up for debate will be flamebait. But I can’t ignore it anymore. I’d like to start a movement – #NOEARLYXMAS. This isn’t about religion – no “war on Christmas” pro/con. It’s just about putting the holiday back where it’s supposed to be: something we start planning for sometime in November, yet which really doesn’t kick into high gear until after Thanksgiving. But how do we achieve it?

We stop buying stuff.

It’s basic economics. The stuff is going up because people are buying it. People are buying it because it’s there. The stores creep it up a little earlier each year to see if they can squeeze just a bit more out of it. If we’re going to break the vicious cycle, it has to start with stopping.

How about we stop buying Christmas stuff until two months before the holiday. Just stop, cold turkey. If we can change the economics, make it no longer profitable to put the merch up this early, then they’ll stop.

What do you say, people? Are you with me? Shall we start a social media campaign with #NOEARLYXMAS aimed at spreading this idea and pushing back at the retailers. They’re not doing wrong – they’re just following the money. We’re in control, with our wallets and our message. If we use those to change the behavior, the stores will follow. I hope.

Thanks for listening to me rant. I’ll go back to not watering my lawn now.

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14 thoughts on “#NoEarlyXmas – Let’s Put Christmas in Its Place

  1. I’m in. I’d say I won’t buy anything from any store that sells Christmas merchandise prior to Halloween, but that would mean I’d starve as even my local grocery store has some Xmas items up.

  2. AMEN! This is the only thing that might get me to do twitter or whatever the hashtag stuff is. We need to grow this into a global movement!!

  3. I agree that stores start selling Christmas earlier and earlier and it needs to stop. In Costco’s defense (a little), they have an “early in, early out” policy with seasonal merchandise (every season) because they double as a supplier for smaller retailers. That’s why they’ll start stocking swimsuits in the spring and get rid of them before summer is even over and that’s why they start selling Christmas before everyone else. Do I think its OK that they started in September this year? No. but they are probably the only ones, so far. Costco’s business model forces them to be the early adopter of sale periods.

    1. That’s a very good point that I hadn’t thought of, though it just seems extra early this year. Also, my wife hit Target this weekend, and saw some XMas stuff there, too, so it’s spreading 😉

    2. It would seem to me that isn’t REALLY an excuse for Costco. If they are serving as a supplier for other stores, it is for LOCAL stores, who are shopping there, and getting the items parsed out and on their own shelves in a matter of days, if not hours.

  4. While I’m certainly not above picking up Christmas gifts earlier in the year – I see X which I know Y would like and the price is good, so pick it up so all the bills don’t come at once.

    That said, I’m completely on board with your campaign. While I haven’t seen any Christmas items in my local stores yet, they’ve had Halloween things out for weeks already and that’s still a good two months away. I’ll certainly do my best not to shop in places that already have Christmas things out.

  5. I’ve always done my shopping early due to being on a fixed income, but there is still no excuse for pushing it in September. I can’t agree with this article more. The magic of Christmas is being destroyed. Stretching the season out ruins the special quality of the season. I used to use Christmas every day as a way of explaining to my son how too much of a good thing ruins it. Now, there are retailers who are doing just that. It is time to take a stand and keep it special for kids, or it will be lost for future generations.

  6. I can see the point of this argument, but as a crafter I also know how long it can take to get things created (and I imagine it is the same for decorators or event planner type people) so in some ways it is nice to have things out early.

  7. So because stores are putting out Christmas items for sale that somehow means we’re celebrating it longer (spreading it too thin)?? I think your logic is flawed…just because I might BUY a Christmas item in September doesn’t mean I’m going to DISPLAY it in September. It makes it a lot easier for me to buy any items I may need come December spread out over a few months, especially when you combine that with gift-giving, and I’d imagine a lot of people feel the same. I have never seen one person in my town (or really anywhere – except stores – for that matter) who actually celebrate or decorate for Christmas in September. Sometimes I think people just HAVE to have something to complain about…

    1. Everyone do yourselves a favor and don’t click on his link. Dude doesn’t deserve to be in this community, let alone get ad revenue from your site visits.

  8. In an appropriate geek dad type of response, let’s ‘make it so’!!!
    Seriously Christmas shouldn’t start until November 1 at the earliest. Everyone knows Halloween is the greatest day of the year so let’s not bury it in Christmas advertising and bangles.

  9. I’ve been trying without success to go the other way for years; I’ve been lobbying my family to adopt the Medieval tradition of “Twelfth night,” which in the Eastern Orthodox Church is known as Epiphany. The famous “Twelve Days of Christmas” start (not end) on December 25 and end on January 6. That’s the “Christmas season.” There’s a nice quiet celebration on Christmas Eve, family gathering on Christmas Day, then Boxing Day, and then the big gift exchange and “visit from Santa” on the 6th. You get to throw a “Twelfth Night” party after new Years, when people probably don’t have other plans, you get to take advantage of after-Christmas sales, and you get to avoid all the hubbub and madness. It’s also a perfect solution for multiple-household or extended families; you can see one bunch of relatives on December 24-25 and another bunch on January 5-6.

    Too bad my kids haven’t bought into it yet….

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