Monday, September 04 2017 20:35

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

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I originally planned on posting this on August 15. I wish I would've, but more time-sensitive things got in the way over the course of the past two weeks. Most of this has been written, sitting as an unpublished draft awaiting release to the public for the purpose of standing up for what's right. For standing up for the power and glory of all-things pumpkin spice!

You see, it's that time again. As the kids are back-to-school, your favorite (and not-so-favorite) retailers are gearing up for the holidays. In fact, it seems that there's 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 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. I've been working on my Holiday Wish Guide™ features since before summer officially hit. Quite simply, it would be impossible to just magically complete work on what's needed for the holidays if I waited until fall. Why do stores like Hobby Lobby 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 over two decades 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 salesfloor in a "big box" 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 on August 22, I did my first massive "Pumpkin-everything" haul from the grocery store. I'm not in the mood for the holidays yet (but I am in 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 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 it if you like) is Fall/Autumn (August 15-October 31), the overlapping Halloween Season (September 15-October 31), Winter Holidays/Christmas Season (November 1-December 25). 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! 

*Notes: The picture up top was from 2015, taken on September 2 at a Hobby Lobby. As of this writing, it's September 4 and I've already had three Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. PSL rules.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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