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Christmas in September?

(Posted November 12, 2013)

Brad Andrew, professor of accounting, business and economics Photography by Kelly Russo, '14

Mid-November is upon us, and the days are getting chilly. Though Thanksgiving has not yet hit, the colder weather also signals the beginning of the long, long Christmas retail season. Stores are putting Christmas decorations and goods in prominent places, and yard decorations start to appear long before snow. This is a source for annoyance for some, confusion for others and possibly joy for those see the most wonderful time of the year lasting longer and longer. I spoke to Bradley Andrew, professor of accounting, business and economics to take stock of the economic explanation for Christmas' infringement on other holidays.

Q: Some of the Christmas yard decorations are going up. Did you notice this happening in stores this time of year?

A: Oh yeah, absolutely. In many places it started the day after Halloween, but in other places it started earlier in October. I have heard Christmas music in September.
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Q: When did the accelerated introduction of Christmas paraphernalia in stores start happening?

A: I really don't know. It's been going on for several years, maybe even decades. It's something I've observed for at least 10 years but I don't really know anyone who's keeping track.

Q: From an economic standpoint, why does this happen?

A: I think it is a way to get people to buy more because people associate Christmas with buying presents.

Q: So does this happen with other holidays as much?

A: No. I have not observed it. It's just Christmas, because Christmas is associated with buying presents.

Q: How much earlier can they start putting Christmas items in stores?

A: I really don't know. I think that it's already pushed far back. It's pushed back two months and now two and a half months. When's our last holiday, we have Labor Day weekend, and then we have Halloween on Oct. 31. My guess is the store could put Christmas stuff above the Halloween stuff so that when they look up they see it. So yeah, I guess you could go back probably to early October or even September, three months early.

Q: So what do holidays do for our economy?

A: Not much. The thing is if you talk to people they say the same thing. For example, if most people buy a ton of stuff in November and December and then they have little money to spend and there is credit card debt in January and February. There's not much of a spending boost. Most of what happens is displaced spending.

Q: Do you have an opinion on this phenomenon?

A: I would call it mildly annoying.

Zach Lemon, '14, Juniata Online Journalist

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