Michaels Arts & Crafts Rolls Out The Christmas Display The First Week Of August

Reader Sam writes in to let us know he found some Christmas Creep at a Michaels craft store. He sent along some pictures he took in early August, 142 days before Christmas.

Check out the full set here (caption has a bad word).
Have you seen some Christmas Creep? Tell us about it at tips@consumerist.com.


Edit Your Comment

  1. mgy says:

    The Michael’s around here keeps Christmas things year round. Hobby Lobby too. Other than some paint supplies and scrapbooking things here and there, that’s practically all they do.

  2. mantari says:

    Not as bad, but I went to Walgreens and saw bags and bags of Halloween candy. The clerk tells me that once Halloween is over with, they’ll go straight for Christmas items.

  3. brainswarm says:

    You can kind of expect this from a craft store, since you would still have three months before December to put off whatever Christmas project you have in mind.

  4. ninabi says:

    Christmas crafts are like crack for grandmas.

    We’re having a bit of Christmas in August right now. I am purging the house of all the tacky crap and Made in China holiday garbage and giving it all to Goodwill. I’m sure some people will be delirious with joy to find the CHRISTMAS LIGHTHOUSE TEAPOT. And the fake tree. All of it.

    I think they are going to name a local thrift shop in my name after the third carload this week.

    We were burnt out precisely because it’s no longer special. Stores killed the goose that laid the golden egg- year round displays made us quit Christmas.

  5. Starting it off early as well, but what they hey… This is how I feel about the Holidays anyway… Especially this early!

    (Warning: Explicit Lyrics)

  6. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I’ve already started knitting for Christmas, so this is good news for artsy craftsy people.

  7. dragonfire81 says:

    Considering the way the economy in the tank, I would expect to see more businesses start milking Christmas as soon as they can.

  8. zingbot says:

    I think you are all under-estimating how much time it takes to make a nativity scene out of popsicle sticks.

  9. At this rate, in a few years they might have the technology to exceed the Speed of Christmas barrier, where they start hawking next year’s Christmas before this year’s is over.

  10. u1itn0w2day says:

    Granny or not I don’t know who is worse-the store or the customer.If you are out on the economy year round thinking about Christmas…GET A LIFE.Get rid of the hypocricy and give gifts year round then-NOT an early Xmas gift either.

  11. ratattak says:

    hey look, its me!

  12. parad0x360 says:

    Target will be rolling out some Christmas stuff Sept 7th-14th I believe. Its truly sad.

  13. Please… I’ve already got Christmas orders coming in! The earlier companies shop, the steeper the discounts (and the easier it is for me to stay stocked). It just makes sense to start early if you’ve got bulk gifts to buy.

  14. @mgy, ninabi: The Eternal Christmas is upon us! Repent your sins lest you be damned!

  15. juri squared says:

    When I was working at a fabric/craft store, I learned a legit reason for super-early Christmas creep on fabrics and craft materials. Professional crafters need to start on their wares for the fall/winter craft shows, which happen in the Christmas season. The second January 1 rolls around, you’ll see Valentine’s and Easter for the same reason.

    This does not explain the crappy ceramic houses, of course.

  16. mmmsoap says:

    @jurijuri: Exactly right! A craft store is where it *makes sense* to have this stuff out now, as they’re expecting buyers to then invest time into their purchases before the holidays. Drives me crazy to see Christmas or Thanksgiving stuff anywhere else, but I can support this one.

  17. sean77 says:

    I’m pretty sure putting text on the photo counts as a derivative work.. which the license of that photo prohibits. Why does the consumerist continuously break copyright laws?

  18. mschlock says:

    Oh dear. I was alarmed they had Halloween decorations up already last month, but…dude.

  19. ngth says:

    Can’t you wait AT LEAST until AFTER Halloween? Geez..

  20. Garbanzo says:

    Craft stores have always been the one place it doesn’t bother me to see Christmas merchandise out early. If someone only has a few hours a week to work on a craft, or if they’re making a zillion of some item, they could have a legitimate need to get cracking in August.

  21. citrus538 says:

    That’s how my local Michaels looks year-round. . .

    It’s actually fun turning on all the displays and having your own little personal christmas inside the store.

    I get funny looks sometimes.

  22. VeryPlainJane says:

    Nothing says “Christmas” like cheap crap from China!

  23. Nick1693 says:

    @VeryPlainJane: Imagine how they feel. They have to make this “crap” months before we get it.

  24. chiieddy says:

    Sorry, but craft stores make sense to put stuff out early. Halloween stuff was out all summer. It takes time to do a project.

  25. Antediluvian says:

    I learned about this the hard way once: I needed some Christmas fabric so I wandered into the local place in November/December and it was all gone. Employee told me they put it out by September. Once I thought about it, it made sense because of the lead time needed for crafting items in time for Christmas.

  26. davere says:

    Old Time Pottery (a chain of huge warehouses full of misc Chinese junk in the South) already had Christmas trees out this weekend and they had cleared out a big area to start stocking Christmas decorations.

  27. mike says:

    Here’s a odd story for you:

    When I was a kid and watched cartoons, I always wondered why cartoons would run holiday/christmas shows in April-July. Obviously, they were reruns. As I got older, I began to understand why: marketing!

    Get kids excited about Christmas and advertise cool toys that they want — no, NEED! — and then profit.

    Just be glad they aren’t inventing a holiday like “Love Day.”

  28. @jurijuri: Does anything at all really explain the crappy ceramic houses?

  29. chatterboxwriting says:

    I make a lot of homemade gifts and crafts for Christmas, such as quilts, afghans, etc. If I don’t start during the summer, I don’t have time to finish. So, as other posters mentioned, it makes sense to have Christmas items at craft stories very early in the year.

  30. chatterboxwriting says:

    *Of course, I meant STORES, not stories.

  31. JN2 says:

    My family-in-law goes nuts over those little village figurines and buildings that go with them. Some of them scour e-bay and outlet stores all year long for them. Whatever floats their boat I guess. Bugs the crap out of them that I don’t start my christmas shopping until after the paycheck just before the holidays. As far as I am concerned, a week is plenty of time to go christmas shopping.

    I think there is legislation pending in congress to rename Christmas to WalMartmas.

    Also,if you want Christmas creep, this store was busy in the spring when I was dragged to it: [www.bronners.com] Yes, it really is as big as they say and is busy all year long.

  32. bohemian says:

    The sad part is that Michaels wasn’t putting the craft items out this early, it was the premade houses and the like.

    Ours had this all out in early August too.

  33. RandomHookup says:

    @mantari: I went into a Walgreens on Saturday morning and they already had Xmas stuff out. It wasn’t tagged yet and it was on the higher shelves, but it was ready to pounce.

  34. timmus says:

    Nothing says “Christmas” like cheap crap from China!

    So true! I don’t care too much if my lawn chair is made in China. But for chrissake, corporate America, source your cheap Christmas crap from the US, Germany, or hell, Slovenia where Christmas traditions exist. It’s about as souring as finding a U.S. flag that’s made in China — it doesn’t exactly make me want to fly it.

  35. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: I’ve also started knitting for the winter holidays. It’ll take me that long to finish (assuming I do finish).

    I guess the companies figure since the have to put out the holiday craft supplies they might as well put out all of the holiday stuff.

  36. thrashanddestroy says:

    Sadly, here at Costco, we rolled out our “seasonal” items [toys and games] last week and began making room last night for outdoor decorations and Christmas trees for this morning. I’ve gotten used to seeing Christmas the last week of August, but damn…it really kills the holiday spirit for me come October.

  37. Imaginary_Friend says:

    When it comes to Christmas Creep, craft stores don’t count. America needs its army of dedicated knitters to keep the citizens clothed and warm every year.

  38. zeitguess says:

    Garden Ridge (another large crafts store) across the street from our Michael’s started their Christmas crap back in June. Just a few shelves, but it was the start of ramp up.

  39. ndjustin says:

    looks like somebody forgot to check [www.isitchristmas.com]

  40. yourbffjill says:

    will Consumerist do a story about my future Mother in Law’s Christmas Creep? She has already asked me for a list, because she likes to get all of her shopping done by August. I have kind of a hard time coming up with things I will need 6 months from now…

  41. PDX909 says:

    The Costco that I shop at is full of Halloween stuff already.

  42. SadSam says:

    Boo!! I hate, hate, hate Christmas creep (I also don’t like Halloween creep either). By the time Christmas rolls around I’m worn out by the Christmas creep and not in the holiday spirit. I actually spend less due to Christmas creep so maybe in the long run its a good thing for me.

  43. I can deal with it at craft stores. At other places it should be criminal. They are taking all the “special” out of Christmas.

    I hope Consumerist will post about the corporate free Christmas movement when the time rolls around. Each year our family strives to purchase less and less during the Christmas season. We regift stuff from our homes, hand make items, spend more family time etc… All in an effort to give the finger to the man and once again experience the “special” that mass merchants have stolen over the years. That’s our Christmas Magic, dammit! Give it back!

  44. rysar says:

    Walgreens got their trees and lights in last week. Look for it to go on the floor right after Halloween or sooner.

  45. econobiker says:

    @timmus: Christmas creep is due to the need to ship most of the crap from China. I guess in years past ye olde downtown retailer (woolworths,?) would put all his decorations in storage till the next year plus anything which hadn’t sold. Now there are no warehousing so everything is blown out cheap at the end of the season and reshipped from China in July.

    Years back I remember a particular story about Chinese workers making Disney Toys for McDs. A worker asked the writer about what the dog (Goofy) symbolized as the ever reaching media blight had not hit China yet and the man had no frame of reference for the pop culture of the USA…

    JN2: “My family-in-law goes nuts over those little village figurines and buildings that go with them.” You have to get a thrift store Godzilla toy to put in the display. Or try to find some figurines which could be altered for better effect and sneakily placed into the diorama- I am thinking a flasher in a trench coat, mugger with ski mask and gun, homeless bag lady with shopping cart, drunk wino with paper bag hidden wine bottle, streetwalking hooker, etc. Nothing better than that type of “Unrest Cure” (saki or hh munro) for the collector family. Similar to when my family put multiple, very-realistic and evil-looking plastic bugs in the flowers/garden of the garden nuts who lived next door to us. The hilarity continues if you can keep a straight face as everyone possible is interorgated as who the guilty party is…

  46. BytheSea says:

    As we’ve said a billion times before, craft stores are exempt from “christmas creep” whining because people need months to work on their xmas crafts.

  47. sock says:

    Michael’s has always put out their Christmas crap this early. However, it used to be mostly materials for projects that people could make. This all made sense. Now, 90% of the stuff Michael’s sells for Christmas is cheap decorations pre-made in China. It seems we Americans are too lazy to even make crafts if it can be made for us by sweat-shop labor.

  48. hellinmyeyes says:

    This one almost makes sense to me. This looks like Department 56 stuff, which is innately winter/Christmas in design. Everything about it is Middle England winter. There are entire stores devoted to this stuff. I can see this being legit. I’m with u1itn0w2day, though; give up the year-round general Christmas fixation, or any holiday for that matter.

  49. battra92 says:

    I’m voting to end Christmas presents. Santa Claus and his santanic minions (aka elves) spread nothing but greed and self entitlement to the well to do while putting the poor in debt because he doesn’t go to their houses.

    Seriously, the sooner we get rid of this stupid lie we tell kids, the better.

    The real Christmas celebrations I love. Just take Satan Claus out of it.

  50. bohemian says:

    @hellinmyeyes: Michael’s carries Lemax. A MUCH cheaper brand, only slightly down the quality scale and about 1/4 the price of Dept. 56. Both are made in China by the same wage slaves. Gawd I hate the giftware industry. My favorite find was an identical tree ornament at Marshal Fields for $125 and again at Target for $25. There were literally the exact same ornament both made in China.

  51. bohemian says:

    I see I am going to have to go into holiday defensive mode early this year or I will lose my mind. Last year involved avoiding the mall area as much as possible. I bought an mp3 player to drown out the music if I had to go to get food or prescriptions.

    I may suggest that this year we forgo gifts and use that money to buy a trip to Vegas over the holiday.

  52. Quilt says:

    A co-worker and I were looking around a Costco last week and we spotted Christmas junk too. Give it another ten years, and the time for Christmas will be starting in mid-January. Ten years after that? The Christmas for 2029 will have started in October of 2028. By then everyone will have jet-packs though, so it won’t be a big deal.

  53. PinkBox says:

    @brainswarm: You’re right. There’s a Hobby Lobby around the corner from my home, and I’ve seen people purchasing Christmas items already.

    A lot of people around here start decorating their home the first week of November, so I’m not too surprised.

    @battra92: I agree! I’m thinking of making a lot of crafty gifts myself this year because I don’t want to go broke buying gifts for everyone.

  54. backbroken says:

    I don’t think this is a big deal. December 25th was just selected as Jesus’ birthday in order to usurp the winter solstice pagan festivals. For all we know, he was actually born in August. I for one, would not want to be caught unawares should Jesus come back on August 27th expecting a huge birthday blowout only to find that nobody had their cheap Chinese crap wrapped and ready.

  55. ARP says:

    @sean77: Copyright in their particular expression of putting stuff on a shelf? OK, I guess. Sounds like you’re in law school or just read an article on copyrights though.

    The picture is for commentary and critcism of consumer issues and Michael’s merchandising choices (this is the most important factor-btw).
    The copyright is in a merchandising display which has some/many utilitarian elements, so you have a thin(er) Copyright. Also, since the picture is of other copyrighted materials (the actual items), you also potentially have a compilation or a work that is transformative (it has a different meaning than the original). Consumerist’s use will little effect on the market (from a copyright perspective). They’re not going to shop at the Consumerist for cheap ceramic gingerbread houses.

    So, do the analysis before you throw out the allegations. We’re not on Faux News y’know.

  56. hellinmyeyes says:


    Yeah, I figured it had to be a cheaper equivalent. My dad was hooked on this type stuff for years, and I never could understand it. I agree with your next comment, though. This year I’m probably going to treat myself extra nice. :-)

  57. ratattak says:

    @sean77: i personally give them permission, THIS TIME.

  58. ideagirl says:

    @u1itn0w2day: Those type of statements really aren’t germane. I plan for Christmas all year, and it has nothing to do with gift giving, it has to do with the pageantry. If I waited until the day after Thanksgiving to start my Christmas crafts and planning, I would spend the entire month of December busting my butt and wouldn’t enjoy any of the celebration. Because I spread it out over the year, my holidays are beautiful and full of fun, and allow me to enjoy a whole month of holiday stuff without stress. I could just not do it, but I like it. I do have a life, I am not obsessed, I’m just a good planner.

    All that being said, craft stores put out Christmas stuff early because this is the time of year crafters start their holiday projects. I can forgive Michael’s. I want to know why the Dollar Tree already has a Christmas wrap display? That, IMO, is the unnecessary Christmas creep. And, as a good Christmas planner, I bought all of my wrap in January for 90% off : )

  59. savvy999 says:

    baby jesus sees this, cries.

  60. ScarletsWalk says:

    I actually went to Michael’s recently to purchase some supplies for Christmas crafts and none were out. If I had seen these village scenes, I think I would have retched.

    I went to a different craft store and Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving things were out, including what I wanted. But, as numerous posters have said, it takes a while to get projects done and so supplies are good, decorations and gifts are bad!

  61. JulesNoctambule says:

    I saw that when I was there to pick up some yarn last week. Right behind the Halloween display, there it was — Christmas in all its glory. I even thought to take a picture to send in but alas, I had forgotten my camera.

    If it were crafting supplies to make things for Christmas, I could see it, but it was decorations, ornaments, all kinds of crap.

  62. attackgypsy says:

    My mother used to do the whole craft fair circuit in the North East, and what she told me was that she started buying supplies of Christmas in June, and started working on them in late July/ early August, and really got revved up around Labor day, just when we were going back to school and out of her hair.

    My father, who did a huge light display every year, said he started looking around Labor Day for replacement lights, and Halloween for new figurines.

    Yeah, Christmas was a huge deal in my family. They went all out.

  63. katylostherart says:

    i’m actually pretty sure my local michael’s had theirs up in june/july. or there were at least SOME christmas decorations already up.

  64. BearTack says:

    This seems more reasonable than the snowblowers I saw at Sears in July 07.

  65. majin_chichi says:

    @brainswarm: Yep, chances are this is the mentality that Michael’s has. I used to be the assistant manager of a fabric store (chain store) here in Canada, and we used to be required every year to put the Xmas fabric out at the end of JULY – usually right after inventory.

    Working there caused me to be so sick of Xmas, nothing like having it crammed down your throat for half of the year.

  66. synergy says:

    I hate to say it, but with Michael’s I can understand. You’re not just buying an item. You’re buying something you’ll have to find the time to make. Last winter I decided to make scarves for 3 people and it took me a couple of months to get them done because I work and go to school. And that was just scarves (although I was also just learning). If it was something more involved it would’ve taken more time.

  67. battra92 says:

    @PinkBox: I agree! I’m thinking of making a lot of crafty gifts myself this year because I don’t want to go broke buying gifts for everyone.

    Good idea. My problem is that with my family people never knew what to buy me so I just would get piles and piles of DVDs, most of which I never watched.

    Crafty ideas seem like a good idea, or at least something small or meaningful.

    Personally for my birthday I told people just to take me out to dinner.