Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Christmas in July? No thanks!

Christmas comes but once a year? Not if retailers have their way.

So-called Christmas creep is bad enough, with all manner of holiday decorations and accessories popping up in stores in September and October. But, as an Associated Press story we ran today details, several big chains are ramping up "Christmas in July" efforts - including Sears, Kmart, Target and Toys R Us. Because, you know, nothing says "Buy more stuff!" like reminding people of the happy time of year when, well, they're most likely to spend lots of money at stores.

In the story, a Target spokeswoman said that the chain was holding a one-day Black Friday-themed online sale this week to create a sense of excitement and urgency. That's generally not a bad thing in retailing, but it loses its luster - fast - if it's repeated too often. And it seems like it'd be even more potentially off-putting if it's viewed as further accelerating the already-protracted holiday retail season - a view shared by some other merchants, including J.C. Penney, whose chief marketing officer remarks that "Customers don't like it when you push Christmas too early."

Count at least this shopper in that number. "Christmas in July" promotions usually come with a bit of a wink, as if to say, "Yeah, we know July is pretty much the opposite of Christmas, so let's have some fun with it." If it becomes just another link in an ever-lengthening chain of promotions tied to the actual, December Christmas, well, it's no longer Christmas in July - it's simply part of Christmas, the retailing/merchandising/advertising extravaganza. And it only further frays the connection between that event and real Christmas, the Dec. 25 holiday that's the center of a warm, fun, family-focused time of year. I and plenty of other people love Christmas, and that kind of love is part of why retailers can be so successful at prompting holiday spending. But summer is short enough as it is: Let's enjoy it while we can, and save the evergreen trees and ornaments until the temperatures drop - a lot.


Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop said...

Well, if you'd like to be reminded of that "warm, fun, family-focused time of year"
that Jen referred to, but don't want to wait until November, Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop and WLYT 102.9 have teamed up to stream Christmas music from
the homepage at WLYT.com for the entire month of July. It's not in promotion of a sale, it's just a chance to hear some great Christmas music
(Peppermint Forest isn't even open yet). They will celebrate their
31st Annual Grand Opening on October 9, 2010.

Adam said...

Yea but not everyone likes summer. I don't like heat, shorts, flip flops or swimming. I mostly stay indoors for seriously 4 months with the air conditioner on. Xmas in july has been going on for years. In fact, QVC is airing their xmas in july this weekend. For me its not even about the shopping. Its a reminder during the crappy jobless economy that good times are arounder the corner. It's about family, friends, decorations, baking etc. I even listen to xmas music during July to remind myself summer is almost over, I am literally counting the days until October for Halloween. I start preparing for Halloween in the next month as I make props and plan my yard haunt. There are alot of people that like xmas/halloween year round like mymerrychristmas.com and halloweenforum.com. Yes...us people do exist.

Anonymous said...

Peppermint, you have GOT to be kidding me. I am so sick of hearing Christmas music when it's Christmas! I work in retail and have to hear the same songs over and over and over again. Retailers have gone too far with this Christmas thing, and everyone seems to have forgotten what Christmas is all about, and retailers NEVER mention it on ads any longer--the birth of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

I think they need to bring back the Christmas In July stream!