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Christmas in a Store Near You

Frost on the pumpkins, a cool nip in the air, and the mountains getting dressed in their finest shades of crimson red, golden yellow, and vibrant orange means it’s that time of year. Time for Christmas!

The jumpstart on Christmas began two weeks after Labor Day when Santa left cases of Christmas sweets at local convenience stores. Now shoppers can buy Reese’s Peanut Butter Christmas Trees along with their Flaming Hot Cheetos and Red Bull.

It was bad enough to find Christmas candy in the stores in mid-August but said candy was in the prime location on the counter right next to the cash register.

Rush, rush, rush! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Don’t enjoy the moment; instead, think three months down the road.

By the way, Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins were in stores before Labor Day.

Big box stores have always been several months ahead in time. Heavy winter coats while it’s still summer and swimming suits when there’s snow and ice outside.

I always find it amusing how one local big boxer pushes their seasonal items. Light-up ghosts, goblins, and ghouls fill the shelves, while on the backside of the display is a selection of Christmas lights, ribbon, and plastic ornaments sitting next to the reduced garden rakes, charcoal, and pool toys.

Since the store puts its summer items on display in April and Christmas fills up December, that means the store has nine months of seasonal items for sale in one small section.

Rush, rush, rush!

Slow it down, for goodness’ sake! I can’t keep up; I still have some Easter candy in the fridge. (Unless you have 25 people living with you, never buy a five-pound white chocolate Easter bunny.)

Speaking of bunnies, last year, I stopped at a local drug store on Christmas Eve looking for Christmas candy, but all the good stuff was gone; I guess it was sold in September.

I turned to leave and saw something so strange it was funny. On one side of the aisle were holiday wrapping paper, Santa hats, and pina colada candy canes; on the other sat unopened cases of Valentine’s Day bears, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and Reese’s Easter Eggs waiting to be on the shelves.

There was a holiday rush from long ago I wish could happen again — the holidays at the Lycoming Mall.

Before Amazon and Walmart, the Lycoming Mall was a shopping mecca.

I remember Macy’s had towering Christmas trees on top of the perfume counters and colored lights strung all over. Inside the mall, holiday banners and twinkling lights hung from the ceiling while Santa’s house in center court shimmered with ice and snow. Amongst this explosion of Christmas décor were hundreds of kids waiting in line. They were not there to see Santa; they were trick-or-treating! Seeing witches and werewolves strolling past snowmen and toy soldiers in front of Santa’s abode was truly bizarre and a statement to retail marketing.

Stack it high, sell it cheap, and move on to the next holiday four months away.

If only stores could follow Nordstrom’s blueprint for the holiday. The Seattle-based department store does not hang one snowflake or decorate a tree until after Thanksgiving.

And each year, Nordstrom has the same answer when asked why they wait on decking the halls.

They say, “we like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.”

Sounds like a good idea.