Combatting the ‘Christmas creep’

by Shelby Johnson

I love Christmas. The feeling of love and happiness, the gleaming lights, shimmering glittery bows, and the giddiness. But starting the holiday season before I collect my Halloween candy? Too soon.

This phenomenon is often called “Christmas creep.” Merchandisers and retailers thrive off our love for Christmas. The average American citizen says he or she plans to spend $862 on Christmas gifts in 2017, as claimed by a survey conducted by Gallup in November. These numbers are drastically higher than the $752 Americans planned to spend in 2016.

So many people turn their noses up at the creep, including me. There are many reasons I dislike the creep, one being that Christmas is a time of tradition, and by starting it sooner and sooner each year, that tradition is often interrupted. We humans are creatures of habit, and I definitely don’t like my Christmas habit disrupted.

I also don’t like knowing I’m being manipulated. It’s so obvious to me and likely to other consumers what stores are trying to do. Knowing that a store is trying to trick me into buying things makes me feel extremely violated. So, once Christmas finally does roll around, I find myself out of the holiday spirit.

Many of my favorite stores are often the biggest abusers of the creep. During a regular shopping trip to Wal-Mart at the beginning of November, the ringing voice of Mariah Carey told me all she wanted for Christmas was me. I was appalled that although I couldn’t escape the tune, I still sang along.

Target is also a huge culprit of using this method. There I was recently, shopping for some major discounts when I rounded the toy aisle and came face to face with a picture of the Target dog in reindeer antlers. I quickly scurried away, but not before I had a thought that I should get a jump start on my Christmas shopping. I had become an unwitting target.

So, when did this first begin and why? The Christmas creep term was first used in the mid-1980s and it’s not limited only to Americans. The creep can even be experienced in Australia, where merchandisers have been known to advertise as early as Septem­ber.

In 1974, a Charlie Brown movie aired involving the Peanuts gang wandering around a department store looking for eggs to decorate for Easter. The kids discover that the store already has Christmas presents out and ready for sale in the month of April. Charlie Brown reads a sign under one of the presents that states, “Only 246 Days until Xmas.” Sorry, Charlie, not much has changed.

Look, I really do like Christmas. It’s one the most magical times of the year. But, please, advertisers and merchandisers alike, I beg you, let me first enjoy stuffing my face with mini-sized candy.

Shelby Johnson is a junior at Hillsboro Middle High School.

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