Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Annual Peeve

For the 3rd year in a row I'm going to run this column, as I went to the store last night, and saw it had started already. I'll keep running it until this practice stops. Which likely means the post will be here every damn year until I retire/die/get institutionalized.

Dear Mr. President,

We now face a national crisis of such serious proportions that it dwarfs other issues, such as global warming, health care, and middle-east peace. It now threatens the very fabric of our society, and directly affects every citizen. And I can remain silent no longer.

It's still September, and every store near me ALREADY HAS THEIR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS UP!

I have nothing against the holidays, Mr. President. Peace on Earth and all that stuff. But moving them up as if they were being held in another time-zone or alternate universe is getting out-of-hand. As far as I know, Christmas hasn't budged in my lifetime. And treating every day like it was Christmas (like the stores seem to want me to do) is not helping.

The well-respected Nick documentary program, The Fairly Oddparents, has carefully researched what would happen if Christmas were held every day (Episode 107, air date 12-12-01 I have kids, OKAY!). Their conclusion? It would be catastrophic.

There also seems to be a degree of unintentional discrimination. For example, Hanukkah starts almost a week before Christmas this year, but I don't see Hanukkah decorations going up 1 week before the Christmas ones. In fact, I haven't seen any at all yet. Or Kwanzaa stuff. Or Festivus. Or New Year's.

This seasonal perversion extends to other holidays, too. I mean, by January 2nd most stores are decked out with Easter junk, and on July 5th the Halloween crap is up.

So, Mr. President, I propose the following, federally mandated solutions (please note: I'm only including those holidays that retailers love. Let's face it, not many of us are out there buying gifts for Groundhog day or cards for Columbus day. I'm also leaving out local holidays like Delaware Statehood Day, the Montana Huckleberry Harvest Celebration, and the Byron, Illinois, Turkey Testicle Festival).

Valentine's Day Decorations will NOT be put up until the 3rd week of January.

St. Patrick's Day Decorations will NOT be put up until after March 1st.

Passover/Easter decorations will NOT be put up until after St. Patrick's day.

Independance day decorations (July 4th) will NOT be put up until the 3rd week of June.

Halloween stuff will NOT be put up before October 1st

Thanksgiving Stuff will NOT be put up before November 1st.

Christmas/New Year/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus stuff will NOT be put up until the day after Thanksgiving.

(Please note: there should be some flexibility here, as Hanukkah and Easter/Passover may vary, but decorations should NOT be hung more then 3 weeks prior to holiday onset).

An alternative plan would be to have a single annual holiday combining all of the above, called St. Christmukahpasseastkwanpatfourthnewfestgivingween. Decorations for the combined holidays may be hung for 30 days prior to this event, and MUST be removed the day after.

Punishment for business owners who violate these laws would be on a 3-step basis:

1st offense: Business license revoked for one month.

2nd offense: Tarred, feathered, and forced to eat fruitcake.

3rd offense: Drawn and quartered, then served with fava beans and a nice chianti.

Yours truly,

Ibee Grumpy, M.D.


Doctor Zorro said...

It is happening here in the UK too especially with festive chocolate products. I think these items once bought will probably be eaten long before christmas, which is perhaps what they intend

Anonymous said...

Costco had the Christmas decorations up about 3 weeks ago.

SuFu PhD said...

I user to work retail and also in the loading dock of the store where we unloaded the incoming trucks. You are seeing the stuff now but we had to unload it in july. There is nothing that will piss you off more than unloading boxes of porcelain mantas and giant add heavy trees when its 80+ at 0600.

Jamie said...

I, too, worked in retail. And I have to say I understand the practice. If the decorations were not put out until after Thanksgiving then people don't have time to budget for it/plan for it. July is a tad premature, yes. However, the retail world is not the real world and in order for people to have enough time to purchase what they want to decorate for the upcoming has to come out BEFORE that season.

And that is my 2 cents :-)

Thatgirl said...

Good luck with the campaign! I don't think it will ever change though, if anything it will just continue to get earlier every year until eventually they're available year-round.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Hey, this is THE central tenet of my platform when I run for President next year!

Anonymous said...


I understand people needing time to select/purchase what they need. However, everyone knows when these Holidays Fall. People can budget all year round. They don't need to see the decorations to know that Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah or La Posada is coming!

Personally, I have never heard (even when I was in retail) people saying, "Thank goodness the Christamas decorations are up in July, I totally forget it was coming, and now that I know, I can start to save my money?" I heard quite the opposite, "Why the FU$K is this SH$T up now (insert holiday) is six months away?" But that's just me.

Oh well! Ibee, I say go with it!

As for the event in Byron, IL, thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will have to let my friends in IL know. I am sure they will be flocking there to witness the festivities.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone in retail, we sell it in July because people buy it. For every person that complains, there is someone right behind them with a cart full of lights and Christmas chocolate. People are strange.

randompawses said...

Oh, come on, Doc, give 'em a couple of days after the holiday so we can get decorations at a discount. Other than that, I totally support your Presidential-bid platform!

wv: "wines": What we all need in quantity when dealing with holiday shopping.

Packer said...

At the risk of sounding grinch like.
I too am with Grumpy, Fall is my favorite season, early fall with its warmth of days, but the light shifting, light later , dark earlier. Leaves to be raked, Bright sun warming a person on a chilly day, sweatshirts, fragrance of fireplaces burning to ward off a chilly evening. October skies. Pumpkins, apples, farmers markets. The last few bike rides with friends before we shift over to hiking , then the autumn walks in the woods. Don't intrude on my reverie with your attempt to sell me some useless crap before I am ready.

bobbie said...

I'll vote for you, Ibee ~

Lizard said...

You have my vote, Ibee. I think the Christmas shit shouldn't be up before Thanksgiving, but when I complain (and I do, I do) they tell me that people want it. Well, people will want it if it goes up later, too, and just because they buy it does not mean you hold pander to them.

Happily, yesterday my daughter and I went into a store and she was horrified and griping about the christmas crap. And she loves Christmas, so she isn't being a grinch like her crabby mother.

Anonymous said...

Valentine's Day decorations seen in a local sex shop : inflated condoms instead of balloons, and the placard "Get your now!" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Why Isn't this important issue discussed at the Presidential Debates? Why, because Big Business has corrupted the media and our politicians, therefore this issue is not mentioned.

Arise Citizens of the Republic, TO THE BARRICADES!

Christie Critters said...

I LOVE Fruitcake and make a very good one (the secret is soaking the raisins/ currants in Capt. Morgan for 2 days - and adding raspberry jam, but i digress)...please specify in second option consequences that they may not eat MY fruitcake - only mail order ones or light colored ones but not the dark, juicy, full of fruit and goodness fruitcakes...
And Christmas music cannot be played while decoations are hung. If Christmas music must be played, there must be NO decoations...

Library-Gryffon said...

I too firmly believe that holiday decoration should not be up in stores until after the previous major holiday or one month prior whichever is shorter. So Halloween shouldn't go up until October 1st, Thanksgiving no earlier than November 1st, Christmas not before the day after Thanksgiving, etc., etc., etc..

I will allow specialty stores more leaway; if I want to embroider new stockings, it will take me more than one month to do it. But Sears? My husband works there and he is a true grinch.

It makes it hard for me to do decorations at home because he is already so sick of them by the time I want to put some up. He can barely stand a 4 foot tree with two strings of lights and 30 or so ornaments and a pair of pointsettias.

So, for the sake of all of us in retail, or married to those in retail, I fully support your campaign platform!

WV: casproph: no clue, have at it!

jimbo26 said...

I'll vote for you Ibee . ( Although I live in the UK ) .

Chibiskittles said...

Only place I think that christmas stuff should be available early is craft stores. ><

--Sunrise-- said...

I'm from the UK too but I can't vote for you now!! The Christmas spirit must linger on for as long before AND after Christmas as possible. <3 It's not because I am Christian or anything, but Christmas is a time to re-kindle childhood magic! (Yes I realise how dorky I sound...)

PS: NIIIICEE Hannibal Lecter reference there. :)

Lauren said...

You are so right!!!

Loren Pechtel said...

I think I understand it: The stores want you to buy your holiday stuff from them. They figure you'll start shopping for it when you see it showing up in the stores and they don't want to lose sales by not having it out when you buy because you saw it elsewhere.

Thus you get it creeping earlier and earlier like you see with new car models etc.

Around here at least they seem to be good about it--only one holiday at a time. The Christmas stuff doesn't show up until just after Thanksgiving.

The Christmas *MUSIC*, though, starts well before then. Long before Christmas I grow to hate it because it's so repetitive.

Anja said...

Good luck with your campaign! Maybe you can even generalize it a little bit more: Personally, I would like buy stuff in the season where it belongs. So if my kids need a new bathing suit in July or new snow gloves in February - no matter where I go - no chance. In July you can buy the gloves and in February you must buy the summer stuff - if the kids will outgrown (or more likely: loose) it there are only leftovers in sizes which do not fit or have the weirdest colors.

Thanks for taking this into consideration, too.

Anonymous said...

PetSmart puts up their Christmas product and signage the day after Halloween.

Andy Syms said...



Smiley :) said...

Well, I do have to agree with the fact that it drives me crazy, BUT at least now I know WHY they do it. I heard a statistic the other day that 42% of women have ALL their holiday shopping DONE by Halloween. Since women do most (if not all) of the shopping, the market CAUSES the stores to bring the stuff out earlier every year. Whichever store gets it out there in the public eye soonest gets the consumer dollars. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

hey! that could actually reduce the rate of obesity in US!!No more stuffing ourselves every 4 weeks passing out from eating and drinking.Good thinking Dr.G.

As a vegetarian who gets to eat mac n' cheese in Thanksgiving, all this celebrating is really an excuse for overindulging.

Take the tons of food and alcohol away from the table during the holidays, what do u think u will get? i wonder if ppl would celebrate the holidays at all if things were more about spending time with people (actually interacting and having meaningful conversations).

Champagne Gifts said...

I wish stores wouldn't do this, christmas ends up going on for about 4 months and it loses it's magic!

Anonymous said...

I certainly agree--I don't want to see Xmas decorations or hear Xmas music until AFTER Thanksgiving. Halloween decorations shouldn't go up until the day before it and come straight down afterwards!! Merchandise can be out a bit sooner but don't decorate for the holiday until it is close to the time.

PurpleRN said...

Apparently Nordstrom has decided to finally take this issue seriously, and will not decorate for Christmas until after thanksgiving is over.

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