One of the first and most common complaints about Christmas is often that it comes too early. For anyone who’s putting out a magazine or periodical, things get into gear for the Christmas edition anywhere from three to six months ahead of actual date. Press times vary, but people wishing to submit a Christmas article to a print magazine should have done so about a month or two ago.
People shopping in malls may have already noticed a few retailers setting up the odd Christmas display. ‘It’s not even Halloween, yet,’ they’re thinking. ‘How could they put out holiday stuff so early? How dare they put it out this early?’ There are a few reasons. First, there are always the early birds, the shoppers who want to start early and get everything done as quickly as possible–who also may like the ability to tell their friends, “Oh, you’re still shopping for Christmas stuff? I’m done, my cards went into the mail at the start of November.” These people are invaluable to retailers for scooping up the final remnants of last year’s Christmas clearance. There are also those who can’t resist a bargain, and being ‘off season’ is no deterent to them. A few creative people will see potential to turn the clearance items into things they are not–yet. From the retail point of view, these sales take care of items that might not have to be written off after all.
Early Christmas displays are a way to get new Christmas stock in the public eye, hopefully before other retailers bring out theirs. The holiday season is short, from a business point of view, but extremely important. It is a case of ‘making hay while the sun shines’ or while people feel they ‘should buy something.’
Unfortunately, for those of us with hearing, the retail industry has greatly overestimated the effect of music on shoppers. The positive effect, at any rate. Yes, people will buy more when there is music softly playing in the background. No, boosting the volume will not make people buy more! It might drive them out of the store, though. I’ve left two stores where the ‘music’ was too loud to tolerate. The type of music can be just as offensive as the volume, something usually overlooked in more ‘hip’ stores.
Playing three months of Christmas carols and other holiday songs irritates all but the most devout of church goers–who probably aren’t going to spend more just because they’re enjoying the music. The problem is, the role of music in retail has shifted, and most retailers haven’t realized it. It has become nothing more than entertainment that’s expected at best, or an annoyance that, at worst, may even offend. Perhaps someone will have the brilliant idea this year to limit the number of ‘christmassy’ type songs they play in their holiday mix. All carols or secular Christmas songs, all the time, is enough to make most of us gag.
Those oppposed to Christmas altogether are probably already gearing up their efforts to wipe out all public display of it. This makes no sense. Yes, Christmas is recognized as a Christian holiday, but one that most people of other faiths, or even none at all, still celebrate. If you don’t believe, it’s just a Jewish baby, born to parents who are broke–and how often do the poor get celebrated in our society? Surely, there is no threat to the idea of ‘peace on Earth.’ We tend to celebrate by giving gifts to others, making bigger donations to charities, and providing at least one decent meal for the homeless. Sure, a few people get drunk and wild, but they’re the same people who get drunk and wild at other times of the year. Some things don’t change.
Those who object to public displays of Christmas should actually look at those displays. Some are ‘traditional,’ but many are more modern. Some contain the baby Jesus, but others contain Santa. A lot are made up of everything people could think to put in there. Very few displays were made by people who were unwilling to put them up. No-one’s rights have been violated. However, the attempt to eliminate public displays of the holiday is a form of censorship that tries to silence what it finds unpalatable. It’s a dangerous precedent when it is allowed to remove a temporary tribute to what should be a time of celebration.
Wishing you and yours a great one! Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly