Tuesday, July 20, 2010
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.