We couldn't ask for a better week in the Inland Northwest. The skies are blue, temperatures are pushing 80 and the leaves are still on the trees. So, why are Christmas decorations on sale already?
This week's Good Question was inspired by a trip to the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't believe Halloween candy was already on sale; at the time, Halloween was still a full two months away! Then, last week, I went to Costco and was in for a real surprise: a full aisle of Christmas decorations on sale already! And, people are already buying!
"One person might say its too early and the person right next to them is inclined to purchase the product and take it with them," says Fred Meyer store director Steve Wissink.
Wissink says it's almost never too early to start shopping for the holidays.
"This week as we've been setting out this product," says Wissink. "We've sold lights, we've sold artificial trees. We know it's fall, but people still want it."
Fred Meyer broke out the lights and trees and merry little snowmen just after Labor Day. Artificial trees are selling already, while outside, real trees are still holding onto their green. And, Fred Meyer isn't the earliest store to get started on the holiday season; Costco got into the holiday spirit before Labor Day!
"It's great - I love to see it when they first come out, all the different things," says shopper Michelle Caird, who was scoping out the holiday decor at Costco. She's the kind of shopper retailers love, looking for a deal a full three months before Christmas.
"I like to see what comes out and you can compare it with all the other stores," says Caird. "Then you can get the best selection."
Urbandictionary.com calls it the Christmas Creep, "the phenomenon where Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year". But, retailers insist - this isn't any earlier than years past. They say the only reason they're putting out holiday decor is that shoppers are already snatching it up!
"It's a very competitive business," says Wissink. "And a we have a lot of customers year after year realize that if there's certain things they're looking for, you have to get em early - and, that routinely happens."
Retailers make a lot of money during the holiday season, so why not stretch it out? Wissink also reminds us that most Christmas decorations are imported and ordered the year before. So, when they're gone, they're gone. If there's something you really want, you may have to buy your icicle lights before you buy your Thanksgiving turkey!
So, if the 80-degree temperatures and still-green grass won't get you in the mood, put on some Bing Crosby and head to your nearest store. Because it's never too early to shop for Christmas.
Well, almost never.
"Before the 4th of July is definitely too early for Christmas decorations," says Caird.
At least we can agree on that.