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Christmas Is Coming Earlier But Americans Don’t Like It

Halloween is only a few days past, but enter any mall in Houston and you're likely to see mistletoe and Christmas trees decking the halls. Many consumers aren't too happy about that.


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Almeda Mall near the Gulf Freeway and Beltway 8 isn’t all hustle and bustle yet, with only a few people strolling through around lunchtime.

But it seems as if it’s ready for the holiday shopping sprees. Macy’s has red Christmas gifts stacked in between its products and throughout the mall there are wreaths and even a Christmas tree.

Considering it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, is it too early for Christmas decoration?

Mallgoers have differing opinions.

“If it puts you in a positive mood, you know, I’m all for it.”

“I guess it’s a little early. Usually, it starts, I guess, around Thanksgiving but it’s barely November. It would have been a little more appropriate closer to, I guess, Thanksgiving — 24th, 26th — something like that.”

 “I really don’t care. Well, they look pretty, so it’s about time.”

That was a man who went by John Doe, Vivi Gonzalez, and Baldemar Mendiola.

Turns out most Americans — 77 percent do be exact — do care and would prefer retailers wait until after Thanksgiving to put up Christmas decorations. Eighty-one percent think it’s too early to play Christmas music. That’s according to a survey by web and mobile testing company SOASTA.

But will retailers listen to the will of the consumers and scale back the early Christmas sales? Larry Kelley, professor of advertising at the University of Houston, says probably not.

“A lot of research indicates that 40 percent of Christmas shopping is actually done pre-Thanksgiving, so retailers don’t want to be left out in the cold.”

He says the fourth quarter is retailers’ bellwether quarter. And especially during less than stellar economic times, there’s lots of pressure to sell as much as they can.

Kelley says that pressure is bigger than from a potential backlash from consumers not wanting to see Christmas decoration in early November.

“I think the risk of starting too late is much bigger than the risk of starting too early and some mild form of alienation.”

He says what’s keeping most retailers from starting the Christmas season even earlier is that they don’t want to jeopardize their Halloween sales.

“For some retailers it really would make sense, for other retailers it may not if they have merchandise that is specifically directed towards Halloween or other types of events early.”

So at least we’ll be spared from seeing Santa Claus handing out Halloween candy next to a jack-o’-lantern any time soon.

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