Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Easter!

Easter is only, what, 7 months away? I feel the need to buy a giant inflatable Easter bunny for my front lawn.

But alas, it is Christmas that causes the gift-grubbing credit card swiping frenzy, so we get to be bombarded with it 3 months early. All the stores are stocking for Christmas. They've emptied the Halloween shelves at Target. Their garden section has been gutted in Home Depot. All the decorations, ornaments, fake trees, and inflatable Santa's are ready for sale.

Christmas in October anyone? If you ask me, retailers are frightened. They want to extend the holiday shopping season as long as they can because they fear that all the media hubbub about tightening credit standards and foreclosures is going to keep people glued to their wallets. I don't blame them. That's exactly what they should be doing.

"Consumers have the same number of people on their gift lists, and they tell us they have pretty much the same budget every year," Cohen said.
The question is whether the credit crunch and the collapsing housing market will affect how much discretionary income they have.
Cohen expects a spike in the sale of gift cards, which are a convenient way out for shoppers frustrated by a lack of hot items. About 39 percent of respondents said they intend to buy gift cards this year.
Well, don't companies usually release their hot Christmas items around this time? Maybe we haven't seen any hot new items come out because Christmas is still 3 months away. Just a thought. The only real big item we've seen out has been the iPhone, but what kind of lousy gift is that? "Merry Christmas, here's a $150 monthly payment you're stuck with for 2 years."
At the same time, he said gift cards could hurt retailers because they don't promote an impulse purchase on the part of the gift buyer.
But they are great when the gift card is redeemed, because many people buy something with the gift card and end up spending more to cover the difference. Or a balance is left on the card, which the company can steal with clever fees. Or the card will be lost and never used.

What bothers me most is that I love Christmas. But when you start Christmas 3 months early, bombard us with decorations and holiday music (and keep calling it "holiday season", people are going to be utterly sick of it by the time December rolls around. And what happens when people get sick of Christmas? It stops meaning anything to them, they stop celebrating it, which means sales go down, and the whole deck of cards the marketing industry has created collapses.

I say we protest. Put the credit cards away. Make your own gifts, celebrate quietly with your family, and no Santa's on the front lawn until December.


Jim said...

Christmas is losing so much meaning it used to have due to how it affects the economy. Every store pushes sooner on us each year. I was under the impression that Christmas shopping doesn't start until the day after Thanksgiving. People are shopping for Christmas already and we're not even to Halloween yet.

Home made crafts and doing things for other people doesn't always have the same meaning. Some people feel that when you make something yourself that you're too cheap to spend money on something decent. The best way to get around that crap is to set the spending limit. That way nobody feels cheated or tries to over indulge like it will give them a few extra points.

I hate gift cards too. Just give cash if you can't think of anything to get for someone. Cash is worth more than plastic.

Mrs. Micah said...

This year we're actually opting out on both sides because it's just more money than we could afford.

I'm doing the handmade thing, but in a different way. For my dad's side of the family, I'm making quilts which go to a group that sells them to support Alzheimer's research. This is meaningful to us because our grandfather suffered from senile dementia for many years. On my mom's side there's less Christmas anyway.