BY RILEY BERGAMASCO
We’ve finally made it to winter break, but you would have to be blind to not have noticed that the holiday season’s been here for a while already. Stores are filled to the brim with Christmas decoration from lights to trees to candy canes. December is the month of Christmas… but according to stores, so are November, October, and sometimes even September. As strange as it seems, most people aren’t surprised when they see these products filling stores as early as September. It has become a normal occurrence due to a marketing technique used by almost the entire western retail industry.
“Christmas Creep” is a merchandising phenomenon in which retailers advertise Christmas-themed products earlier than the traditional Christmas season. In many cases, Santa store displays go up in October, radio stations begin playing Christmas music in November, and people become sick of Christmas before December even starts. For some, the earlier and longer holiday season spoils the excitement of Christmas. Others argue that the increased commercialism ruins the family aspect of Christmas as well as its religious roots. But the most noticeable and likely impactful consequence of Christmas Creep is the effect it has on retailers.
Because many stores rely on the holiday season to make a large portion of their profits, they take advantage of this phenomenon to increase the length of sales. The holiday season grows each year and with it, the sales. These sales are not exclusively related to Christmas—they also include Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales which often last at least a week each, if not more. When people believe they are getting a good deal, they are more likely to spend more money, so retailers take advantage of the holiday season to increase their profits. It doesn’t always work out though. These increased sales create a sense of mutually assured destruction for businesses. If one refuses to drop their prices, they will lose out to the others that do, causing retailers to continually cut prices and often lose profits.
Despite the downsides and irritation it may cause, Christmas Creep is not always bad. For example, people in Finland can’t wait for the lights to go up because the sun sets so early. And ultimately, for people with an undying love for Christmas music and Santa decorations, a longer holiday season is a longer period of joy.