It’s that time of year again. Yes, that time of year when stores begin stocking their shelves with themed candy and goods, homeowners begin setting up elaborate and fanciful displays and most importantly, consumers begin bellyaching about it being ‘too early’ to celebrate. I’ve got news for those hype-killing holiday-haters: it’s never too early to celebrate. This is “Unpopular Opinions,” a Lariat column centering around opinions so thoroughly disagreed with that simply conceding to one aspect of their defense will get one mildly maimed. For this entry of “Unpopular Opinions,” it’s time to prematurely complain about premature complainers.
But before that, let’s first take a look at why companies push for this early celebration (also known as the Christmas creep) from a logistical standpoint. Most retailers view the strategy as common-sense: the longer the selling period, the greater the profit. There’s heavy competition to one-up the next store by being the first to advertise and sell holiday goods, and every day that a business is selling without major competition counts.
Christmas Day is a dead day for businesses. It’s one of the few days in the year nearly all businesses are closed, despite being quite possibly one of, if not the most, commercial holidays in the world. Halloween and Easter are close behind, and all three prove incredibly essential to the holiday business season. It’s to be expected these times of year need steam to propel the business side forward, and the earlier the build-up starts, the more time the season can ramp up to its eventual climax (usually taking place the last Saturday before the respective holiday).
When opposing starting off holiday seasons early, people tend to point out that other holidays with similar cultural importance are overridden and go unappreciated in the face of more widespread and materialistic holidays. What many will ignore when making this point is the fact that these smaller holidays will never truly make it out of the shadow of other holidays simply based off of the more limited population which acknowledges such holidays (days like Thanksgiving are only observed in North America while Christmas and Halloween are generally observed in most of the world).
And even if there wasn’t some logical reasoning propping up the practice, in the long run it doesn’t harm consumers. No-one is forced to buy exorbitant amounts of candy corn or the latest tech that’s been price-dropped for the holidays. The worst one has to suffer through is dealing with seasonal displays and the cheap-looking holiday inflatables. In exchange for such horrendous transgressions, consumers get cheaper items, limited-time items they can’t get any other time of the year and some seasonal flare to break up the monotony of the year.
Perhaps one day we’ll get to the point where people complain early about holidays being celebrated too early. Then we’ll have people complaining early about the early complainers, who are complaining about holidays being celebrated too early. I hope I never live to see that day.
Photo courtesy of Will Lytle, CC license