Does it seem like Christmas has come earlier this year?
No, we’re not noticing a marked upswing in levels of eggnog-related good cheer. It is not snowing, nor are we already gathered to spend time with family, reconnect with friends, and gorge on traditional delicacies (like my little sister’s amazing orange-glazed cream cheese cake). No, the part of Christmas that’s moved way up is the part that gets pretty stressful sometimes: the buying of stuff.
A number of stores started talking up “Black Friday” deals the week before Halloween, a sign that the retail industry is moving towards a “Black November” instead of relying on traditional post-Thanksgiving sales. Wal-Mart, Loews, BestBuy, and Sears have already launched their Christmas bargains. And Amazon’s “Black Friday” deals started last Friday, while in 2009 those sales didn’t start until November 23rd.
Sure, this might pump up retail sales in a down economy. And people will have more time to find good deals on things they might really need (like a new plasma-screen TV—Dexter never looked so good!). But it’s also likely to result in Christmas burnout much earlier in the season. What do you think? Do longer sales mean that people will ultimately spend more on stuff they don’t need, or is this a better idea than stampede-inducing midnight blowouts?