Christmas is still five weeks away, but people are already celebrating. Everywhere you look, from your neighbor's house to the local mall, say commentators, there are unmistakable signs of forced merriment, not to mention aggressive merchandising. Here are six signs that the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" started too early this year:
1. Christmas in September?
Some municipal districts and shopping malls are introducing Christmas as soon as September, reports Amanda Leigh Brozana at the Philadelphia-based Republican Herald. "Two days after Labor Day, I saw stores putting out Christmas displays," said New Philadelphia local Donna Burkot, as quoted in the piece. "It's crazy."
2. Christmas lights clash with jack-o'-lanterns
There's nothing like "good old fashioned Christmas lights," says Mari Cockerell at KTXS News in Texas, to put you in the holiday mood. But which holiday? A Texas company called Christmas Decor has been installing lights displays for Abilene-area homes and businesses since October, blurring the Yuletide with Halloween.
3. Santa Claus is coming to town? He never left
"Santa Claus is coming to town just a tad early this year," said the Delaware County Times last week, noting that Old Saint Nick set up his "big red chair" in local malls in the second week of November. Santa made a similarly premature arrival in Ottawa, Ont., stores, says Joe Lofaro at the Metro Ottawa. "Many shoppers felt that all of it came a little too early this year."
4. Carols are the wrong Thanksgiving soundtrack
"I can understand why the retailers push the season early," says Mark Skala at All Things Cape Cod. After all, we're in a middle of a recession. "But the radio station?" Here on the Cape, many of our local stations are already playing "all Christmas, all the time." And "Thanksgiving is still more than a week away." Won't we be sick of carols by the time Christmas actually comes around?
5. November is no time for eggnog
"Guess it's time to put up the tree," says Amy Rolph at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, taking her cues from a local Starbucks' decision to start selling eggnog and gingerbread-flavored lattes soon after Halloween. "I know we say this every year, but doesn't it seem like the commercial holiday season is starting earlier and earlier every year?"
6. Can you even keep a Christmas tree alive for two months?
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, trees were already being sold outside Lewis' Drugstore this week. "As beautiful as the weather is, people will be out looking at them," manager Bob Deaton told Keloland.com. "We try our best to get in good selections every year of good, lively trees." Sure, but will they make it to December 25?