Sep 18, 2007
‘Tis the seasonBy Lori

While decking the halls may be low on the chore list, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas anyway.

Backyard grills have hardly cooled from summer barbecues, but ready or not, Santa and his fleet of merry merchants are quickly ushering in the holiday season at local shops.

Hobby Lobby, 5500 Beckley Road, began displaying its Christmas goods in May, and many other area retailers jumped on the marketing sleigh the first week of September. In a survey by Shopzilla, an online comparison shopping and research Web site, about 62 percent of American retailers said they plan to start their holiday marketing and promotion before the first week of November.

Customers have mixed reactions to the displays, however. Some can’t wait to begin the holidays, while others’ hair stands on end at the sight of the decor.

“It starts making me feel frantic,” said Sharon McKelvey, 56, while standing a few feet away from Hobby Lobby’s massive Christmas displays. She usually doesn’t start holiday shopping until November, though she admits to buying an ornament for a new grandchild in August.

“In a way, it’s nice for people who have to spread out their purchases and buy early,” the Battle Creek woman conceded.

Shoppers taking advantage of Labor Day sales at Macy’s in Lakeview Square Mall were greeted by sparkling lights and ornament-laiden evergreens Sept. 1. Macy’s spokeswoman Jennifer McNamara said it’s normal for holiday decorations to go up in early September, but the dates vary by each store’s customer demands.

“We found it’s never too early for customers to start shopping, and we want the goods available when they’re needed,” she said. “It’s a great way to be prepared in a way that works for them.”

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