Walking through the Roosevelt Field Mall last week, I noticed the usual array of stores and shoppers shuffling down the passage ways. But as I got deeper into the mall, I noticed something that was almost impossible to miss, a 70-foot Christmas tree, beautifully decorated with ornaments the size of your head and lights twinkling like stars. While this is great, considering how much I love Christmas, even I can agree that it is far too soon. It wasn’t even Halloween yet! So the question is, why? Why do malls, businesses advertising on television, and other public places feel the need to decorate and market so soon? Why are there no other holidays celebrated this early? Why do so many people accept the early start to this celebration?
There is an actual term for this concept. It’s called “Christmas creep”. It is described as “a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by introducing Christmas-themed merchandise or decorations before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, which in the United States is on the day after Thanksgiving.” This is done through public decoration of places such as town government buildings or shopping malls, television advertisements, radio advertisements, retail “holiday” sales, etc. Just look at the homepage for A.C. Moore http://www.acmoore.com. Looking deeper into where the celebrations are started, it becomes clear why it is done. Money. Unfortunately, not even the jolly, holy holiday of Christmas could escape the capitalist craze. Businesses noticed a drastic increase in sales from the months of October to December, encouraging them to start the enlarged accumulation of prosperity sooner and sooner every year. In 2006, the National Retail Federation claimed that 40% of holiday shoppers started purchasing gifts before Halloween.
It has also effected the broadcast industry. Now, there are at least two radio stations that play all Christmas music as early as mid November until Christmas Day. But it wasn’t always like that. Throughout most of December, radio stations more often included Christmas songs every so often into their regular broadcasts and played their all Christmas playlists on December 24th and 25th. Television channels such as Hallmark also start to show Christmas movies in November, while Freeform waits until December 1st to show start their tradition of “25 Days of Christmas”. Knowing that events like this is going on encourages viewers to tune in more frequently, boosting their ratings. I know in my own family, watching specific Christmas movies at certain points in the holiday season, such as decorating the tree, is a tradition. Having such movies on cable TV would certainly encourage my family to put up the tree when that movie is on, whenever it may be.
As a Christmas lover, who just yesterday played Christmas music proudly, it breaks my heart that more people do not share my love for the holiday for reasons other than money. Christmas is not a time for increasing sales. It is a time to be grateful for your family and friends, cherishing the warm Christmas traditions with them. It is a time to bother your friends with the constant Christmas caroling and loops of movies. It is a time to not care about your weight, eating all the goodies that come along with the celebration. Despite Santa’s responsibilities, it is a time to forget about getting presents and just be thankful for what you have.