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Ho, Ho, Ho: Is Christmas Coming Too Early?


I was surprised to run into Santa Claus at White Flint Mall the other day. I thought he usually didn't show up until around Thanksgiving, but he seemed to be getting an early start on things this year. Perhaps Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson have issued secret orders to the nation's Kris Kringles to take their positions a week or two ahead of schedule as a way of jumpstarting the economy.

Or maybe I just haven't paid much attention to the creeping Christmasization that so many people moan about. Still, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas a lot earlier than I remember. I mean, we just put away our Halloween decorations. Of course that's more a reflection of us than any larger societal shift. What do you think:

Please share your thoughts in our Commons Comments section below. And feel free to e-mail me. I may revisit this topic later in the week.

The New York Times had a fun story over the weekend about a place where it's always Dec. 25: Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Michigan. And this is a neat series of photos taken by someone who helped set up the Christmas tree in Pentagon City mall. (Tip to

Back when I was in Weekend I did a story on decorating that mall, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, as it's officially know. The decorations were only a year-old then, and they were in what were called jewel tones: rich purples and greens and golds. Big fat cherubs hung from the ceiling. Two memories stand out: The crew had to wait till the food court emptied out before they could start with their rigging, and they were surprised (and irritated) how long people liked to just linger there. And an empty mall is a creepy place. Especially if you're Ben Bernanke or Hank Paulson. They want our malls to be packed.

By John Kelly  |  November 18, 2008; 10:00 AM ET
 | Tags: Christmas, polls  
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The Christmas-themed M&Ms were in the stores the day after Halloween. It's been absurd.

Posted by: staxowax | November 18, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I took my son to the orthodontist yesterday and they had Christmas music playing constantly in the waiting room. I think that drivel should be limited to Christmas Eve and the day of, not a full week before Thanksgiving!

Posted by: AmyH3 | November 18, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Man, that is one evil looking Santa Claus -is that one of the Halloween decorations you were putting away?

Posted by: dr_klahn | November 18, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You like that Santa? I've had it for years. He pins on to my lapel. There's a little cord that hangs down, when you pull on it, his nose lights up. I had to go up into our freezing attic this morning to fetch him. The things I do for my blog.

Posted by: JohnFKelly | November 18, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse


You could lure more posts to the blog by suggesting that the extensive creeping Christmasization of our culture (e.g., Santa Claus, IN, and the ubiquitous Christmas Shoppes) is a plot by the predominantly non-Christian countries where the cheapo decorations are made to infiltrate our economy with useless junk. This would attract the same group of wingnuts that post to the Gene Pool as if it were a serious political blog, and boost your traffic. If that doesn't work, you could email Sarah Palin for her take on it....

Posted by: reddragon1 | November 18, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Rockville, Maryland:

Sorry, Mr. Grinch! It has long been a family tradition [begun by me] to place ALL the Christmas records on the "stereo", beginning the day AFTER Thanksgiving. There they stayed until after the New Year.

We would not retire the music for that year, until the last decoration had been removed and packed away. Of course a glass [or two]of wine, while doing so helped tremendously.

Posted by: Mbyrnepsyd | November 18, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Cosi had Christmas music playing last week when I stopped in to grab a sandwich for lunch. Although that "holiday" sandwich was good (turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce), I'm boycotting Cosi until new years as I do not want to listen to that drivel when I'm eating.

Home Depot had Christmas stuff out in early October; looked like they cleared out the summertime merchandise and replaced with Christmas stuff. Might make merchandising easier, but sure annoys me - really, who is going to buy a wreath when they haven't raked any leaves yet?

Posted by: ssolomo | November 18, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I kid you not, I once saw a small display of Santa Claus figures greeting me at Hecht' July. There was no sign that this was any sort of irony (no "Christmas in July" logos) or an anomaly. There the Santas were, lined up, right near the menswear.

Since then (it was 2003), I haven't had the will to complain about the foolishness of extending "Christmas" from November 1 - January 31. And it is foolish, but at least it's not July.

Posted by: nowanna1 | November 19, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Up here in Ithaca, a full week before Halloween, most of the grocery stores, target, walmart, etc. were taking down the Halloween stuff (It is absurd to try to buy a costume on Halloween apparently, but that is a different rant all together) and already putting up Christmas stuff. What ever happened to Thanksgiving??? Shouldn't November be a month of colored leaf and Indian corn paraphernalia? I wonder if it is a ploy by stores to ensure the largest amount of Christmas merchandise sales. If people are buying less Christmas stuff during December then maybe if we sell it over a longer period of time we can up the amount of crap they buy.

Posted by: ThatGuy1 | November 19, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"as it's officially know"? you mean "as its's officially knowN?"

Posted by: SHELLY1234 | November 19, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It's not just the stores rushing the season. Last weekend there were at least two houses in our neighborhood with outdoor Christmas lights on, and one with a lighted tree in the house. Possibly a reaction to all the bad financial news?

Posted by: Cringan | November 19, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't shop at Nordstrom's that often, but I've always admired them because they stay late the day before Thanksgiving and THEN decorate. I hope that's still the case!

As a Christian, the season of Advent, is a time for a different kind of preparation and it helps keep everything in perspective.

Posted by: stonesis | November 20, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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