by Johanna Seidel

November has just moved in, and now candy canes are replacing candy corn on grocery store shelves, Halloween trick-or-treat bags are being swapped for Christmas stockings, and orange and black are being exchanged for green and red. It seems as if on November 1st, an army of Santa’s elves quickly transformed every store into a winter wonderland, tossing any remnants of Halloween into the clearance bins. Christmas, however, is still weeks away. Is it too early to be bombarded with Christmas carols, gingerbread men, stocking stuffers, and the stress of the most expensive holiday of the year?

According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers spent approximately $496.1 billion during the 2011 holiday season. Despite the ongoing recession, holiday sales from last year reflected a 5.6% increase. Over the past 10 years, holiday sales have consistently been on the rise at an average of 3.5%.

Many feel that premature Christmas sales are taking the magic out of Halloween, Hanukah, and Thanksgiving. Some stores are selling Christmas products October through December; that averages to be 25% out of the entire year! Others consider early Christmas sales to be taking away from the Christmas spirit, because holiday decorations are so accessible all the time. On the other hand, some people just cannot get enough of Christmas. Carols can never be overplayed, and the happiness that the holiday brings is unlike anything else all year. Because of the frequent annoyed or overjoyed response people have to early X-mas sales, Mount Messenger wanted to hear what our readers thought.

The Mount Messenger polled readers about when they believed it was acceptable to begin Christmas sales. The results showed that 40% of voters thought stores should at least wait until Halloween, 45% said that sales shouldn’t begin until after Thanksgiving, and 13% of voters replied the earlier the better! Only 2% who participated were savvy shoppers, and they replied that they did not care when sales began because they did their shopping for next year during post-Christmas sales.

Whether you like it or not, there is no escaping the over commercialization of the Christmas season. Unless the Grinch gets away with stealing Christmas, you might as well prepare yourselves for the shopping, decorating, and cheer for 25% of the year.