November 05, 2005
Tis the season already

After we closed the door on the last Trick or Treater on Monday night, I said to myself "So when does Christmas season start?" I was only joking, but the joke's on me.

No, it's not your imagination. The advertising and marketing assault that marks the beginning of the holiday buying season has already begun.

Christmas catalogs are already filling mailboxes, and Wal-Mart's holiday marketing campaign was in place several weeks sooner than usual.

It may be the earliest jump on the season ever.


Wal-Mart's early start on the holidays didn't surprise Ken Bernhardt, professor of marketing at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

The holiday shopping season is getting longer every year and is turning into "a well-before-Halloween until a well-into-January" event, he said. Consumers are starting earlier and shopping later, knowing they can be rewarded with big discounts if they wait, he said.


Meyerland Plaza was putting up its decorations Thursday, about a week early. Shopper Estella Jenkins liked the oversized glittery Christmas ornaments.

"It's a little early, I think," Jenkins said outside the Target store. She half joked that they might get blown down with almost two months left before the holiday. Jenkins, 53, does not plan to cut back on holiday spending this year but said she won't be going overboard.

Kids, I swear, there really was a time when Christmas season waited until after Thanksgiving. At this rate, by the time Olivia is a teenager, Christmas decorations will be competing for space with back-to-school sales. Which will no doubt start to take place in May. I suppose this is good news for the people who never bother to take their decorations down in the first place. They'll be proven right in the end.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 05, 2005 to Bidness | TrackBack

Yeah, I started counting the holiday ads I saw on TV starting Nov. 1, and I'm now up to about a dozen. And I haven't watched more than an hour of non-PBS programming.

Posted by: Linkmeister on November 5, 2005 11:55 AM

It probably would have started even sooner without Katrina and Rita!

Don't you recall the year some companies started their Christmas ads in August? :^D I don't think it worked so they backed up!

Posted by: ttyler5 on November 5, 2005 12:20 PM

We saw Christmas decorations up in the parking lot at Town & Country a week or so before Halloween. Then, while shopping on November 1, we heard Christmas music. Not much, just one song, but it was enough to have us shaking our heads.

I will admit, though, that I have already started addressing Christmas cards. I have a bunch of international ones to mail this year and I'd like them to actually arrive by Christmas this time. However, I have not yet started my Christmas shopping.

Posted by: Sue on November 5, 2005 9:10 PM

We were downtown (Pittsburgh) today, and saw many decorations going up. Of course, "Light up night" (the "official" beginning of the downtown holiday shopping season) is Nov 18th this year. That puts it before T-giving, and apparently far too early.

Which isn't to say that with young children, we won't be downtown for the festivities that night. But we probably won't buy more than dinner somewhere...

Posted by: David on November 5, 2005 11:04 PM