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Go away, Christmas, it’s not your turn yet!

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

No. No. No and good Lord, no!

It’s the middle of September. Halloween is still more than a month away. Thanksgiving is more than two months away. Pumpkin beer has only just hit the shelves and I don’t think Starbucks has started pumpkin-fying everything just yet, even.

But nevertheless, a creditcards.com survey shows 18 percent of online shoppers and 14 percent of in-store shoppers have already started their holiday shopping. Translate that nationwide based on census data and that means 32 million adults are socking away holiday gifts under beds or in closet corners.

The survey also showed two percent — that would be 4.6 million adults — are already done with their holiday shopping.

Combine this information with the ever-expanding retail mentality that shoves Christmas down consumers’ throats earlier and earlier each year with winter holiday-themed merchandise and visuals on display around the same time Halloween-themed aisles are pedaling candy and face masks.

Black Friday turned into Black – just get here a few days early, mm-kay, Day. Cyber Monday is now Cyber Week. Early Bird sales aren’t the morning after Thanksgiving anymore – they’re sometimes a week before.

Now granted, I get that an early start on holiday shopping can be a great tool for budgeting. Gift-giving is expensive. As a mother of three, trust me, I blow through more money than I care to admit every year and I’m a modest shopper.

But people, northern states are still kind of summery. Kids are still in back-to-school mode. Let’s just chill on the Christmas stuff here for a bit.

The last time I thought it was a good idea to shop early, I forgot about all the crap I stowed away until I moved almost a year later. They weren’t the sort of things I could throw under the tree the next year either.

I have a damn good excuse to shop early this year. I’m getting married in mid-December and will be on my honeymoon until Christmas Eve. But even I can’t fathom shopping much before Thanksgiving. The mood just isn’t there.

My whole point is – there’s nothing wrong with early birds who want to spread holiday expenses out over a period of time or who want to spend the holidays in peaceful relaxation instead of battling crowds. But the growing number of people pushing Christmas into November and then October and now, sigh, September, is getting ridiculous.

There can be reason upon reason thrown out there for starting the holidays out a little earlier each year, but the bottom line is capitalism is winning, in the words of Donald Trump, big time. The earlier they get you to shop, the more you’re likely to spend.

The holiday season this year is expected to see $886 billion. The creditcard.com study found that most shoppers who start early say they are able to save more money by comparison shopping. That’s a luxury last-minute shoppers don’t have (who now, apparently aren’t just middle-aged dads and husbands hitting up the mall on Christmas Eve, rather it’s those who shop even a couple of weeks before the holiday itself.) But getting an early start and saving some cash here and there may mean shoppers buy more.

But consider the source – a credit card website that partners “with leading banks and issuers in order to bring you credit card offers online. Google any variation of “credit card holiday season” and you’ll find a long list of either credit issuers offering special holiday rates on cards or sources telling you how to avoid too much debt during the holidays. Why? Because lots of people use credit cards for holiday shopping.

Seems a pretty safe bet that it would behoove a site such as creditcard.com to subtly encourage early shopping.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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