Go into any store and notice that the holidays are apparently upon us. It must be….. October? Christmas comes but once a year, and I apparently don’t spend enough on decorations and other holiday paraphernalia. So stores have decided to make it easier for us poor, harried consumers to drop more money on the latest lawn decorations and holiday gelatin molds and put them out on the shelves well before the Halloween candy has been eaten.
Consumer spending is of course the bedrock of our economy, but a longer period during which to buy holiday stuff doesn’t seem to translate into shopping carts loaded with Christmas gift wrap, boxes of tinsel, Christmas cards and all the other non-perishables available in stores now. I can’t claim to have done a scientific study into consumer buying habits, but I observed very few people happily browsing the holiday aisles in the stores that I frequent. Instead, most people seemed to avert their eyes in exasperation. If they were with someone, they would often make a comment along the lines of “Can you believe they have Christmas stuff out already?” to their companions.
Store clerks I spoke to said that they had not heard one single positive comment on the early availability of Christmas merchandise. In fact, they seem to resent having to look at trees and tinsel for three months a year and I don’t blame them. It’s beginning to look a lot like “Elmo saves Christmas.” One year, Elmo wishes that Christmas would last all year instead of just one day. So the inhabitants of Sesame Street are forced to sing carols throughout the year, to have Christmas decorations instead of flags for Fourth of July, and do nothing but celebrate Christmas day in and day out, much to the detriment of their businesses. After a while, Elmo sees the error of his ways and begs for Christmas to be only once a year again, so it can be a really special day, and all is well that ends well in Sesame Street.
I believe we should follow Elmo’s example. Christmas is special because it comes but once a year. Bombarding me with holiday decorations from mid-October to the first week in January will only exasperate me. An exasperated consumer is an unhappy consumer, and one that will buy less rather than more. I believe I will save Christmas by refusing to buy so much as a bag of Christmas bell-shaped Hershey kisses until after Thanksgiving.
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