“Don’t you dare!”
I was just looking in the cellar. Just looking, I swear.
But we all know what’s down there. We all know that, in the dark corner with the single light bulb, nestling among the webs and spider corpses, sit the boxes of baubles and trimmings. We all know that somewhere, buried in the darkness of the void, are green plastic branches and two lines of lights waiting for power to shine again.
Christmas is in the cellar. And it’s November.
Not that it seems to matter all that much to the shops.
I remember walking into Sainsbury on Halloween and passing a team of workers swapping out pumpkin pots for tinsel. They looked almost apologetic.
But when is “too early” for Christmas. Is there such a thing?
According to Christian tradition, of course, Christmas isn’t actually Christmas until the 24th of December. You could count Advent into it but that would still take you only up to the start of December, which would make my wife happy.
Even the old Norse and Germanic Pagan tradition of Yuletide only stretches to the start of December.
So why does it feel like Christmas is getting earlier every year?
For one, it isn’t. Studies on the opening salvo of Christmas TV ads have placed the start of the marketing season at the second week of November for over a Decade, and it hasn’t shifted back in that time.
That still isn’t inside the “official” window of Christmas preparation, of course. For many hard-line humbugs, even an early November start to the season is too early. So why do retailers launch into action so much earlier?
Turns out, we’re interested.
A quick look at Google Analytics reveals that interest in the search term “Christmas” began to rise in the second week of September this year. That’s right, many people were searching for Christmas before Summer was over.
For many, the mere hint of Winter means Christmas is on the way.
Let’s face it: Winter is a bit rubbish. Nights close in, everything gets cold, wet and dreary.
Christmas is the warm, bright, colourful period when people come together to be merry. What else is there to look forward to? So, look forward to it we do.
Good Housekeeping magazine took a poll on this, a few years ago. Readers confirmed that they really do start thinking about the festive period at the end of summer.
Some might argue that retailers are a bit late to the party.
As marketeers, we often start thinking of Christmas in July. Greetings Card manufacturers begin designing and printing cards as soon as the previous Christmas period has ended, to ensure that they’ve enough stock to meet the following years’ demand.
I suppose, Christmas begins when you want it to begin. Perhaps it’s a state of mind? I wonder if I can persuade my wife of this.
I sigh and step past the cellar door, humming Slade beneath my breath.
Maybe next year.
Roll on December,….