Christmas-themed stores will open in malls across the region this month and next, mall representatives say. Does that invoke a groan of dread or are you ready now to start shopping for the holidays?
Usually, Christmas merchandise starts popping up in stores near Halloween, reports the Hartford Courant, but the national trend this year, is even earlier.
In addition to malls, customers also report seeing holiday merchandise in stand-alone department and specialty stores in Maryland, including Hobby Lobby, which put out Christmas crafting supplies starting in July, Dollar General, which publicized a “Christmas in July” sale, and Kohl’s, which has experienced backlash from customers on its Facebook page for its early Christmas displays.
“It’s like you can at least wait til after Halloween,” one person wrote on the company’s national Facebook page.
Kohl’s company representatives didn’t immediately return phone calls Monday regarding Christmas displays in September. On its Facebook page, Hobby Lobby company representatives said Christmas merchandise was put out to accommodate customers who make holiday crafts early in the season.
In Maryland, mall displays, such as the Poinsettia Tree at the Mall in Columbia will continue to open in early November as they have in previous years.
At Towson Town Center and White Marsh Mall, the Santa display and other holiday decor will also go up during the first two weeks of November.
But Christmas-themed stores will begin opening this month at White Marsh Mall and Towson Town Center and in early October at the Mall in Columbia, mall representatives said.
Retailers are also beginning to air Christmas television ads.
A Kmart commercial that began airing Sept. 8 urges customers to shop early for “free layaway” and to not “let the holidays sneak up on you,” ABC News reported.
Kmart has defended its early advertising, saying its 2013 holiday advertising went along with a layaway program it was promoting in September.
Last year, Target ran its first holiday ad on Oct. 7, according to ABC News.
Shoppers have mixed views on whether they agree with Christmas-themed displays in September.
Others agreed, saying they start early to avoid the crowds later in the season.
According to National Retail Federation 2012 data, 39 percent of shoppers start holiday shopping in November. About 12 percent begin in September.
On average, adults spent a total of $749.51 on winter holidays in 2012, data shows.
Several people said they were frustrated by the bombardment of Christmas before they could even enjoy Halloween.
“Way too early!” wrote Kathleen Anne Hall Lapchak on the Catonsville Patch Facebook page. “We need to go back to Christmas being after Thanksgiving like the old days. No one can enjoy the seasons anymore! Halloween should not begin in July either. The old way was correct.”
Tell us in comments: Are you annoyed by Christmas displays in September? Or do you carefully plan and do your Christmas shopping early in the season to avoid the December crowds?