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Christmas Creep: Is the Countdown Getting Earlier?

With Halloween over, we’re clearing our pumpkins off our porches and putting our skeleton decorations back in the basement until next year. Despite the passing of every fall lover’s favorite holiday, our society has had no problem rushing into the celebration of the next major holiday of the year: Christmas. Though Thanksgiving comes several weeks before Christmas, many of us tend to gloss over it and jump into putting up festive lights and decorating our trees. Christmas is widely considered one of the most exciting times of our calendar year, so it’s no surprise that we’re all so eager to celebrate the holiday. 

However, society’s early celebration of Christmas doesn’t stop with children and families. A phenomenon called “Christmas Creep” refers to the tendency of businesses to introduce their holiday products and merchandise much earlier than the traditional start of the holiday season, which technically is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Though this has been a common occurrence throughout the years, the timing this year feels particularly early for Christmas decorations to be hitting the shelves of department stores. This may raise the question: why do stores bring out icicle lights and plastic reindeers so soon? Is it just holiday cheer? 

The truth is, stores employ this tactic due to the massive amounts of profit that come with the holiday season. Christmas time is often the busiest time of the year in regards to business, and consumers are much more frequent in their spending. Therefore, bringing out Christmas products earlier helps businesses prepare for the consumer demand and gives them a head start on beating out the competition with other retailers.

In addition to competitiveness, the holiday season is also a very emotional time of year for many, and businesses often use this to their advantage. Putting out Christmas items and gifts earlier may remind customers about certain family members and friends, influencing them to purchase these items earlier. Christmas products also use emotion in the sense that they remind consumers that excessive spending during the holiday season is okay if it’s for gifts or presents for loved ones. This results in more profit created for businesses involved, especially if it is done earlier in the year. 

Looking at this year in specific, the global pandemic has certainly had an impact on the concept of Christmas Creep in stores. During the holiday season of 2020, many customers were afraid of contracting COVID-19 and were anxious about the possibility of future lockdowns. This resulted in Christmas 2020 being celebrated less traditionally, many families not being able to get together for the holiday as they typically would. Now that more people are becoming vaccinated and many restrictions have been lifted, people are much more eager to celebrate the holiday this year and make up for the traditions they lost during last year. Therefore, businesses have begun putting holiday products out earlier in preparation for early holiday shopping in order to avoid scarcity in these items. 

Overall, the lengthening of the holiday season has had mixed reviews. Some argue that more time should be made for Halloween and Thanksgiving, while others enjoy the early start to the holidays and are eager to indulge in traditions as soon as possible. However, despite it seeming earlier every year, it is unlikely that the beginning of the holiday season will move any earlier, as Halloween requires distinctive marketing and businesses will likely aim to profit off of both occasions to the best of their ability. So regardless of how you feel about Christmas Creep, remember to enjoy this holiday and spend time engaging in the traditions you missed out on last season. Begin your personal celebration however early or late you would like, and make the most out of this cheer-filled time of year! 

Kaviya is a sophomore studying psychology and biology. Her hobbies include drawing and reading thriller/mystery novels, and she hopes to work in the field of clinical psychology one day.
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