Updated: Saturday, 11th July 2020 @ 7:39am

Is it ridiculous to have tinsel up in October? Why Christmas comes early and always will

Is it ridiculous to have tinsel up in October? Why Christmas comes early and always will

By Matthew Ord

Picture this. A star atop the tree, mince pies on the shelves, Christmas songs in your ears and all colours of tinsel glistening in the light.

It sounds festive, right? It feels like Christmas day is right around the corner.

Well, it’s not. This is all happening as early as October.

Halloween is often yet to happen before Christmas is being forced upon us.

We have no choice in the matter.

Try avoiding a shop that has Christmas decorations up in the first week of November. You’d never get around to buying anything.

There is a bit of a lull in events worth celebrating here in England between Bonfire night and Christmas Day. We deal with pumpkins and fireworks in the space of a week, then nothing. So I suppose it is fair to ask: why wait?

Well, the logic behind waiting is because by the time Christmas Day is actually right around the corner the festive feeling may very well have worn off. You’ve peaked. Day nine on your advent calendar has just been opened and you’ve already had enough.

Manchester held its annual Christmas Lights Switch On this year on November 8 and, while the turnout was impressive (perhaps something to do with the fact James Arthur was performing), is there really a need for the lights to come on that many weeks before Christmas? The council say yes.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “Our lights switch-on is the official start of the Christmas season in the north west and the beginning of a six week sleigh ride of events and celebrations, which has made Manchester renowned as the Christmas capital of the UK.

“Christmas is a vital time for the high street and small businesses alike, and transforming Manchester into a festive wonderland attracts families to see the sights and shoppers to buy their Christmas presents.

“Last year Christmas in Manchester boosted the economy by more than £70million.”

When you look at it like that, it makes a lot of sense.

What about supermarkets and shopping centres though? What about the businesses that are likely to turn a profit regardless of the time of year? Do they need to start their preparations that far in advance?

Richard Paxton, General Manager of the Trafford Centre, said: “Our Christmas kicked off properly with the switch on of our festive illuminations and the opening of our grotto a few weeks ago, in keeping with the rest of the retail world for whom this season is the most important of the year.

“A large percentage of annual retail sales occur in this period, known as the Golden Quarter, and our retailers will be looking to improve on the great sales figures we enjoyed last year. It’s important for the recovering UK economy to have a bumper sales period at this time of year.

“Festive menus are live in many of our restaurants, the gift wrapping service is doing fantastic business, and already thousands of people have met Santa Claus at his grotto, which is up by 4.1% on last year.”

For those who are convinced the decorations go up earlier year after year, they don’t. Not at the Trafford Centre anyway, and it is clear that people are still flocking in large numbers regardless of how early they consider to be too early.

Supermarkets notoriously kick-start their Christmas campaigns earlier than most.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “A gift guide is made available on October 9, with that stock arriving on November 1.

“We also run a meat order service now that is available from October 7 to December 1.”

He added: “We start that early to be prepared for the demand more than anything."

This is demand that is both expected and carried out, year after year, without fail.

It is difficult to ignore the early preparations. Jolly Clothing, a Christmas retro-styled fashion label, sends out their press release as early as September.

“The earlier we do the press release the better,” said a spokesman.

“Everything has to be planned and prepared for months in advance leading up to Christmas.”

They went on to add that, despite the early press release, they got ‘no grief at all’ and added that their consumers are ‘very pleasant’.

Card Factory told MM they started selling Christmas cards in September but pointed out that they ‘are popular in September and then right up until Christmas’.

A rent-a-santa website told MM: “All weekends get booked up by September with most regular clients booking by August.

“We still have some availability but all our Santas are very, very busy right up until Christmas Eve.”

So regardless of how early we all may think is too early, business is business, and Christmas will never be restricted to just December, or even November for that matter.

We aren’t the ones making the money.

If we could make a profit from putting up our decorations at home in October, we definitely would.

It passes a lot of people by that money is being made from decorations going up so early.

Love it or hate it, Christmas will always come early.

Picture courtesy of Ara Maye, with thanks.

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