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Move Over, Thanksgiving

Bart Fields

Before the December snow starts to fall in the Ozarks, glistening pine trees and rosy cheeked Santas are popping up in retail and grocery stores. Christmas, it seems, has now engulfed two months of the year leaving Thanksgiving and other November holidays out in the cold.

Many stores around the Ozarks pulled their Christmas decorations out of storage in early November, working to sell more Christmas-themed products.  This trend is not something exclusive to local businesses, but a nationwide phenomenon that is expanding the sales window for one of the most popular U.S. holidays.

Some locally owned businesses, such as 5 pound apparel, are following suit as well. So why has Christmas come so early this year?

Christmas items go on sale around early November, says Becky Gourley, manager of two 5 Pound Apparel stores in Springfield, to attract shoppers to pad less profitable months.

“It increases sales, for one, and keeps us going throughout the slow season in January and February. Just carrying more options for customers really helps us stay alive.”  

Target, a popular national brand with stores in Springfield and Branson, is one of the many retailers focused on the prize of increased Christmas sales via ‘convenience’ for their customers. The company brought back their free shipping for online guests November 1st.

Brian Cornell, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Target, says in a statement that “Target is starting the season with momentum in our business, anchored by increasing store traffic and strength in our signature categories.”

The start of the holiday buying season may help some customers plan for their gift-giving adventures, but others worry about the stress on their finances. According to the National Retail Federation’s Consumer Survey Report for this year, shoppers plan to spend around $805 on gifts for themselves and family members, with about 40% of those shoppers feeling the pressure to overspend during the commercialized months of November and December.

One of the most visited outlets for holiday shopping and another nationally owned purchasing center in the Ozarks, the Battlefield Mall, has started nudging shoppers towards feeling the Christmas spirit with one of its most recognizable personifications; Santa Claus. Opening its holiday photo booth with Santa on November 5th, like in past years, the mall grips the handlebars of the holly-covered bandwagon that’s dashing through the month of November.

Even our coffee dons a Christmas glow in November. Starbucks, a popular coffee chain in the Ozarks and around the country, has historically started selling Christmas themed items November 1st. This year, the company began their red and green season on November 10th, selling their famous Christmas blend and other featured holiday beverages and merchandise.

“The holidays are a special time at Starbucks with tastes and experiences that inspire the spirit of the season,” says a Starbucks spokesperson, adding that this is their 31st consecutive year of selling holiday fare.

Meanwhile, Becky Gourley with 5 Pound Apparel in Springfield, says this extended Christmas sales season is a way that customers and businesses can help each other through the age-old method of supply and demand.

“I think it really is about increasing sales opportunities across the board, in a way that makes it beneficial to the customer as well.

Credit Virginia Sinicki / Twitter

However, there are other stores around the country that prefer to wait for Thanksgiving to pass before dousing their stores in cardboard snowflakes and spray on snow. Nordstrom retailers, a country-wide apparel chain, has posted notices on their store windows to let customers know that the ceramic reindeer and elaborately wrapped boxes can wait until turkey day has had its time in the spotlight.