New York Times, 1908: 100 Years Of Christmas Creep!

The text on this ad from Putnam's on Nov. 11, 1908  reads, "To get pleasure out of Christmas shopping, begin early... It is quite time to begin now."

The text on this ad from Putnam’s on Nov. 11, 1908 reads, “To get pleasure out of Christmas shopping, begin early… It is quite time to begin now.”

Reader Annie spotted this early Christmas ad while browsing through the New York Times Machine. It’s from November 11, 1908.

“I’m not sure if this counts as Christmas creep, but it’s definitely pre-Thanksgiving.”



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  1. Zach, your favorite liberal Texan politics-and-news junkie/Doctor Who super-fan says:

    Ahh…those were the days… (not that I would personally know, not even my great-grandmother was alive then)

    One century later and Christmas creep starts in September! In four hundred years, if my math is correct, it’ll start in January.

    Just think, year-round Christmas ads, songs, and products (but not gifts) – yikes.

  2. nicemarmot617 says:

    I don’t think that’s too early for an unobtrusive advertisement like that one. Those damn Jared ads they play every Christmas, on the other hand…it is ALWAYS too early for those.

    • Con Seannery says:

      @nicemarmot617: To be honest, for the first 2 or 3 years I saw those commercials, I just said to myself “WHAT THE HELL IS JARED?!?”

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @nicemarmot617: My boyfriend and I were watching tv the other night and one came on. While we were walking out to the car later, I was like “He loves me more than your husband loves you because HE WENT TO JARED!!” I mean.. isn’t that what those commercials are saying?


  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, to be fair, the postal service wasn’t what it is now back then, was it? Advertising christmas cards early back then doesn’t seem awful.

    Just like I’m ok with christmas creep in stores like Costco, where it is for business owners to get their stuff to be ready to set up *their* business come time, or in stores like Tuesday Morning where, lets face it, they’re just weird (but I love ’em).

    Target, Walmart, Fred Meyer, otoh, yeah, I didn’t need to see christmas ornaments last month.

  4. SexCpotatoes says:

    They had to advertise that early, y’know, when it took months to ship something across the country, you had to do your catalog shopping early

  5. mikeycav says:

    I sent this story to this guy, maybe he can use it in his next “victrola-cast”:


  6. FrankTheTank says:

    So, by definition what we are experiencing now isn’t “creep” right? It’s been going on for years. There’s no “creep” to it.

    • TVGenius says:

      @FrankTheTank: My thought exactly. I’ve been sick of the Creep posts for about a month. Most of our stores had Christmas (save the music) well before the Creep stories crept in.

    • Rider says:


      Exactly , I’m trying to figure out when it’s OK for stores to start advertising Christmas. If the shopping season starts the day after Thanksgiving wouldn’t the buildup for it start weeks before that?

  7. huadpe says:

    Wasn’t Thanksgiving as we know it established under FDR? The holy line of Christmas season demarcation had yet to be laid down. I call no foul on Nov. 11 1908 Christmas ads.

    • humphrmi says:

      @huadpe: There’s a lot of debate about that. This article:


      Claims that the last Thursday in November was established as the official holiday by President Lincoln on October 3, 1863.

      This one:


      Says that Congress declared it in 1941.

      Another article I read, which unfortunately now I cannot find, says that the declaration by Lincoln only made it “standard practice, but not law” whereas the Congressional declaration in 1941 (during which FDR was president) made it law.

  8. james says:

    You wanna talk “Christmas Creep”?

    Workmen started installing trees in the median
    of Park Ave in NYC this morking, and they started
    early enough to wake me up!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t even think November 11th is early anymore. If you look at Target and Wal-Mart, they were already stocking their shelves with Christmas candy, lights and trees as they were taking down their Halloween supplies.

    I just wonder when the Christmas stuff will be out before the Halloween holiday.

  10. xwildebeestx says:

    The best part about this ad is that it’s selling books as xmas presents. Imagine the look on somebody’s face if you gave them a book this year.

    (I’d love it)

  11. DTaylor404 says:

    Would this be a good time to point out that the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter in the New York Sun ran on SEPTEMBER 21?