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Not a New Thing: Christmas in July, Halloween Candy in August, Pumpkin Spice in September…


This article is more than 2 years old and may not have been updated since our last site redesign. It may contain outdated information or could be missing images.

Originally published Sept. 5, 2017. Updated and added to the Greatest Hits, July 17, 2021. Re-featured Aug. 9, 2022.

It’s about that time again. As the kids are on the cusp of heading back to school, your favorite (and not-so-favorite) retailers are gearing up for the holidays. In fact, it seems that there are more holidays than ever these days (every day is a “National _____ Day” of some kind), but as we look toward the end of the year, it’s the “Big Two” that always loom large: Christmas and Halloween.

In many cases, “Christmas in July” is more than a simple advertising promotion, and chains like Hobby Lobby and their less controversial counterparts, such as Michaels and JOANN are locked, stocked, and ready to rock with the festive gear as early as June. As we hit August, familiar shades of orange and black start popping up with increasing frequency as Back-to-School departments are flipped in preparation for the most glorious day of the year:  October 31. And, just as signs of the holidays begin to appear, it’s time once again for chronic complainers to start whining about what they deem “too early” (online it’s usually done with excessive CAPS and !!!), and likewise many media outlets to start running what’s basically a stock article at this point about “Christmas Creep” and the like.

Newsflash: none of this is new, and the true problem lies in the complainers and their ridiculous “outrage.”

The editorial calendar of this very website mirrors what happens in retail. In the past, I’d start working on my Holiday Wish Guide™ features long before summer officially hits — and that’s exactly what I do in my role as Senior Editor at the Toy Insider: we’re prepping an EPIC Holiday Gift Guide packed with toys months before anyone will see it. Quite simply, it would be impossible to just magically complete work on what’s needed for the holidays if businesses waited until fall. Why do all the craft stores start stocking Christmas gear in summer? Same reason, many of their customers are crafters, and to be ready for the holidays, they need supplies so that they can start creating months in advance. Around here, the big holiday craft fairs have begun.

The first time I ever heard a consumer complain about “Christmas Creep” was back in 1996 when I worked for Walmart. That was 25 years ago. It happened all the time, and it was typically a very specific customer that would hit us up about it — each with a similar level of smugness as if we were seeing the same grump in a different body. Do they really think that the hourly associates on the sales floor in a “big box store” care? They might feel like they just have to say something, but they’re laughed at as soon as they’re gone. Not only do the folks not care, but the complaints (which will change nothing) are being delivered to people who are in no way responsible for the way things work.

I always tend to think that the same people who take to Twitter to shout “#tooearly!” this year, are the exact same ones who were “surprised” last year, and the year before that. I’ve even overheard it while shopping with my family this summer. You take a turn down an aisle that’s starting to switch seasons, and there’s that person – mumbling “too early!” I’ve already purchased some Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments (the “preview” is in July every year), and generally, by mid-August I’ll do my first massive “Pumpkin-everything” haul from the grocery store. I’m not in the mood for the holidays yet (but I am ready for fall), though I know that this stuff is out there now because of the way the selling seasons work. And, if you want the good stuff, you have to shop early. None of this bothers me, and it shouldn’t bother you. But, if it does bother you, then you bother me. Weird, right?

I have a tradition here that dates back to my days working for the late Musicland Group in their Sam Goody division, where I would occasionally point out that like decor, the “early” release of holiday music is not new. Each year, somewhere on this site, I share a reminder that Elvis Presley released his famous Elvis’ Christmas Album on October 15, 1957. That was more than 60 years ago.

You can act surprised that the holiday stuff is on display during a time you deem “too early,” but this is nothing new.

Rock Father HQ Holiday Calendar:

My personal holiday calendar (feel free to adopt or adapt it if you like):

  • Aug. 15-Oct. 31: Fall/Autumn
  • Sept. 15-Oct. 31: Overlapping Halloween Season
  • Nov. 1-Dec. 25: Winter Holidays/Christmas Season

Notes: I tend to skip or downplay American Thanksgiving as a “speed bump” between October and December, and New Year’s Eve is usually pretty lame. It is acceptable for in-home holiday decorations to go up on November 1, at which time the playing of holiday music may also begin. Christmas decor specifically should all be removed and put back into storage between December 26-27. If you still have holiday decor up when it hits New Year’s, that’s just depressing!

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James Zahn
James Zahnhttps://www.therockfather.com
James Zahn aka The Rock Father is the founder and publisher of The Rock Father Magazine, and also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, and Senior Editor of The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider. Zahn is an Illinois-based writer, media personality, commentator, director, actor, adventurer, raconteur, and overall pop culture and toy enthusiast. James is frequently called upon for expert commentary on the toy industry and has been seen on or quoted in Yahoo! Finance, CNN, FOX Business, MarketWatch, Forbes, NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The NY Post, The Chicago Tribune, PopSugar, Fangoria, Starlog, and many more. He has been involved with business, entertainment, and media for more than 30 years, with a passion for music, film, retail, and publishing. Follow James on Twitter @TheRockFather. Email him: james@therockfather.com

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