Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
Well, frankly, it’s pretty hard not to right now. Holiday music and decorations are already fixtures in many local stores — some since well before Halloween. Which means it’s time to start posing the annual question of whether all this holiday cheer starts too early.
Peggy Swartchild, co-owner of Material Possessions in Winnetka, said her store's holiday decorations went up the week before Thanksgiving.
"I used to hate the thought of putting up decorations so early, but from a practical view it's our busiest time to sell," she said, adding that she refuses to put them up before Halloween.
Swartchild, who has a second downtown location, said that Chicago tourists expect the holiday decorations when they visit, and store employees want to finish decorations before the stores are especially busy with shoppers.
At least one national retailer is dedicated to bucking that trend. Nordstrom is following in its long-standing tradition of waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to deck its halls. The goal, according to the company, is to celebrate one holiday at a time. A photo of last year’s sign alerting shoppers to the store’s policy has been all over the Internet recently.
For those hum-bugs who believe in vigilance against stores pre-maturely getting into the holiday mood, the Consumerist offers its “Christmas Creep,” a printable, sadistic-looking ornament that steals all the glory from other holidays. The Consumerist, which is run by the same folks who put out Consumer Reports, encourages people to plop the Creep down next to offending displays in stores and send in a photo.
"I think you see too much of the stuff too early," said Chris Barber, co-owner of Winnetka's Grand Food Center. "When you see it before Thanksgiving or before Halloween, it’s ridiculous."
Barber said that the grocery store typically does not do Chirstmas decorations before Thanksgiving, but acknowledged that the store's policy is not as steadfast as he thinks it should be.