COMMENTARY: More retailers need to join Target in the war on the ‘Christmas creep’

With less than two months until Christmas, the festive season is nary a blip on most people’s radars. The exceptions, of course, are retailers.

Last weekend, I caught a tragically jarring glimpse of boxed Christmas wares being delivered to a store. The manager assured me they won’t be unpacked for several weeks, thankfully.

Although my celebration is short-lived, as I’m sure that, somewhere, there’s a tinsel-packing, hall-decking radio station program director ready to flip the switch to all Christmas music any day now.

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We’ll soon step out of our pumpkin spice bliss into peppermint frenzy – all the while lamenting what seems like an earlier arrival for Christmas each year.

This phenomenon has a name – the Christmas creep. No, the Christmas creep isn’t the mall Santa with a questionable past, but rather the bane of everyone caught off guard by the sudden (and often unwelcome) arrival of the year’s tensest holiday.

Watch: customers complain about Christmas creep.

Not so for Target customers, however. The American retail giant has waged war on the Christmas creep, vowing to hold off on holiday promotions or decorations until after American Thanksgiving, observed this year on Nov. 23, which some people may view only as “The Day Before Black Friday.”

Christmas is seemingly on deck for everyone but those celebrating it. It’s understandable for retail, which measures time in the passage of commercialized events – from back to school, to Halloween, to Christmas, to Valentine’s Day, and so on – but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.

Before people accuse Target of kowtowing to political correctness, it must be said that the company isn’t cancelling Christmas, just delaying its inevitable commercial arrival. It’s not a war on Christmas, but on the Christmas creep.

According to the Associated Press, the goal is to “be more in tune with customers’ mindset.”

A move of this nature is such a blessing that, under different circumstances, I’d say Christmas came early.

Lest anyone accuse me of grinchery, know that I’m a Christmas fanatic. I listen to non-stop Christmas music throughout December and even put antlers and a Rudolph nose on my car, so my Christmas bona fides are well known.

One can only keep up that level of celebration for a limited time, though. And two months out of 12 is excessive. How the staff at Frankenmuth, Michigan’s year-round Christmas store, Bronner’s, manage, I’ll never understand.

We Canadians don’t have a November Thanksgiving to serve as a buffer between Halloween and Christmas, though many peg Nov. 12 – the day after Remembrance Day – as the earliest acceptable opportunity for Christmas displays and music.

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Of course, this attitude leads to retailers chomping at the bit to tear off their poppies to replace them with Santa brooches seconds after the Remembrance Day moment of silence ends.

There’s good reason, of course. Holiday shopping is worth hundreds of billions of dollars in North America each year, but it seems absurd that the companies reaping these rewards feel the need to enter into what seems like a seasonal race to be first.

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They seem to think consumers won’t know it’s Christmastime until store signage tells us so.

Target says it’s responding to where its customers are – which is not quite in the holiday spirit until the tail end of November. I think they’re right, so let’s hope other retailers follow suit.

I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas – but not yet.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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