POLL: When Is Too Early For Christmas Creep?

After we proposed tracking Starbucks’s roll out of Christmas products as a metric to gauge yearly Christmas Creep, we got a fair amount of comments saying they saw no problem with Christmas stuff coming out once Halloween was over. So, inside, a poll: at what point does Christmas Creep become acceptable holiday display?

As a follow-up to the Starbucks post, we received a couple emails from employees who told us that Starbucks begins using the red cups typically on the first Tuesday of November, but doesn’t start offering the peppermint mocha and all that stuff until later-November 17, according to one tipster.

(Photo: TMQ.st.louis)


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  1. pop top says:

    I say at least wait until after Thanksgiving. Let each holiday have it’s own damn month before you start in on the next one.

    • inadequatewife says:

      @squinko: I’m okay with stores who have “seasonal” departments swapping out the Halloween merchandise for the Christmas merchandise. Anything before November 1st is too soon.

      That gets the Christmas trees, ornaments, and decorations out for people to purchase before Thanksgiving weekend. There’s absolutely no need for the Christmas merchandise to be spilling out into other departments so early. We don’t need to be in holiday mode 12 months a year.

      I don’t think that stores or malls need to decorate, play carols, or anything similar until after Thanksgiving.

      • Charmander says:

        @inadequatewife: I’m with you, here. From a retail standpoint, the “seasonal” area (in a discount retailer) needs to be filled with something right after Halloween, and there’s generally not that much Thanksgiving stuff. So, I’m fine with right after Halloween.

        The only problem is the stores that put out their Christmas crap several weeks BEFORE Halloween. It’s just too early, and who cares about buying Christmas ornaments in October anyways?

        Disclaimer: I work in a store that did just this – put out ALL the Christmas stuff before Halloween, pretty much moving the Halloween stuff to a few mismatched racks on the main aisles. It really pissed me off.

        • Jabes says:

          @mamalicious: I’m fine with there being merchandise in the store, too, after Halloween but I really don’t like seeing the store windows, etc, done up for Christmas until Thanksgiving.

    • Android8675 says:

      @squinko: Speedwell, you could put up your “traditional” stuff the day after thanksgiving and expand from there as the holidays roll along.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      @squinko: I think it’s unavoidable to have Christmas stuff out before Thanksgiving. They have to get people thinking “Christmas” before Black Friday. If stuff didn’t go up until Black Friday, then I bet one could demonstrate that Black Friday would less successful.

    • Warik says:


      Yeah your right retailers should have all their employees work all of thanksgiving day getting all of the holiday stock out and store decorated and prepped for black friday. Why would they put stuff out earlier to give stores time to set endcaps and sell stuff to people who may want it earlier. Just make the peons work on one of their few holidays.

    • dallasmay says:

      @squinko: I’m OK with a few days before Thanksgiving. Nov. 1 is a bit early, but the Monday before Thanksgiving is just fine with me.

  2. MostlyHarmless says:

    Heh, apparently I’m the only one who thinks it is okay to put those on after Halloween.

    But then, I never shop for xmas presents, so I dont care.

    • scoobydoo says:

      @MostlyHarmless: I’m with you. For logistical reasons I think stores need to fill the empty Halloween spots with Christmas. Plus, I don’t mind starting a little Christmas shopping early November.

      I do hate the August creep I’ve been seeing lately.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @MostlyHarmless: We don’t celebrate any holidays around the end of the year except for New Year’s, so I wish I could say I don’t care. From a retail standpoint, it makes sense to push out Christmas stuff as soon as possible since people don’t really buy presents for Thanksgiving. Scooby’s got it right, it’s easy for stores to move straight from Halloween into Christmas.
      Whatever. I’m the Grinch. Pass the bourbon.

      • bohemian says:

        @h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes: I have seen Target fill their seasonal section with bulk packages of typical home essentials in between holidays. At least up north they could use it to push things like snow shovels, supplies you might stock up on at home. I doubt there is a huge demand for ceramic turkeys and fall colored tablecloths, so filling up an entire section might not work.

        All this push for Christmas so early has burned me out on the entire thing already and it is only the first week of November. This is a new record.

    • katstermonster says:

      @MostlyHarmless: Boo, you’re not even Christian! You don’t get a vote!

      (Kidding, mostly. Haha.)

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @MostlyHarmless: I’m okay with Halloween too. Anytime around the end of October is good with me because we don’t really celebrate Halloween but we do love Christmas. It’s important for us to be able to plan ahead with gift giving and the few Christmas-themed things we buy per year.

    • sicknick says:

      @MostlyHarmless: Nah, after Halloween is fine. I just hate turning the corner in Target and going from Vampires and Bats to jolly santa’s.

      Nov 1st is perfectly acceptable. After Thanksgiving would be amazing, but that’s never going to happen. As one commentor already said, a lot of people put up the Tree the day after thanksgiving, so how are they going to get other decorations if you couldn’t buy em? Just please wait until AFTER Halloween. No purple/blue and black mixing with gold and red.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @MostlyHarmless: I said Halloween. I don’t put the tree up until after Thanksgiving, but if I’m going to change the decor that year I’d rather be able to get stuff without having to go out on Black Friday.

    • Batwaffel says:

      @MostlyHarmless: I’m ok with stores putting stuff out before Thanksgiving because a lot of people, like myself, like to begin our Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes you need supplies for that.


    • subtlefrog says:

      @MostlyHarmless: I am staying out of stores more and more, so I suppose I shouldn’t let it bother me – but when I do need to go in, egad I can’t deal with all the red & green vomited everywhere and the Xmas music. My parents consider me a grinch. I give, a lot. I just wish it wasn’t so in my face.

  3. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    It hurts my feelings that they have out their Christmas stuff but won’t have the Gingerbread latte for another couple of weeks.

    I wait all year for the Gingerbread latte.

  4. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    They’ve sortof turned this into an amalgam of “the holidays” and rolled out the christmas stuff earlier and earlier.

    I’m sorry, but Thanksgiving DOES NOT have a tree.

  5. antoineawwad says:

    March is a good month to start decorating…!

  6. JohnDeere says:

    mid july isnt on the poll.

  7. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    See, and that’s just it… we give them “after halloween” and they’ll take “after Labor Day”. We give them “after Labor Day” and they’ll take “after July 4th”… it never ends.

  8. frank64 says:

    I think right after Thanksgiving is a little too early, at least to go hog wild. The earlier and more you see it, the less meaning it has. It kind of pisses me off more than anything until you get like a week away. I know stores need to sell decorations and presents, but maybe the Christmas cups at Starbucks could wait until 2 week before? You could build up slowly.

  9. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I worked at a craft store for a couple years. The time for craft stores to put out merchandise for Christmas crafts is all year. The time to order merchandise specifically for a Christmas season, however, is slightly before Christmas of the year before.

  10. BeerManMike is Bayonetta's personal defender: says:

    After Thanksgiving. You may purchase little christmas things here and there 1 week piror to Thanksgiving and storing them in the closet. Then on sat/sun after Thanksgiving you go out and start shopping for Christmas things all the way up untill Dec 27. Stores may start showing the Cristmas wares in the corner at around November 18. No trees may go up untill the first weekend of December. I have spoken.

  11. shepd says:

    I said Halloween, because for those up North, it’s the last real holiday before Xmas. Of course, there’s Novemberance day, but nobody pays any attention to that at all ’round these parts (apart from the occasional poppy).

  12. jaydez says:

    I dont want to be reminded of how much money I need to spend for more than a month before christmas. Black Friday should be the day when it can all be rolled out.

    Can we write to our senators and make this a law?

  13. KTK1990 says:

    Buying presents = Any time, defintly before december though (unless it doesnt come out until after then). Just to avoid the christmas rush, and the stores possibly charging more.

    Christmas decorations = Anytime after thanksgiving.

  14. mimbypims says:

    I don’t care about wreaths in Wal-Mart or red cups at Starbucks after Halloween. Just please don’t turn on the Christmas music until after Thanksgiving!

  15. katia802 says:

    I can stand it after Halloween. Prefer later, but I just don’t go down those aisles, no need for it, as we celebrate Yule instead (lot less decorations needed). I do wait till after Thanksgiving to start singing happy chrismahanakwanzika to you! if that helps any.

  16. Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

    How about anytime, I really hate christmas. For me it’s just another day.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill: Why are you so angry in life? How can you hate Christmas?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Because it has no meaning. Its a season of the year where you can trample other human beings to get some cheap chinese crap and not care you just took someone’s life. Its the time when children become focused on whats under the tree instead of the love of their family around them.

        How could that not engender hatred?

        Fuck. And I’m not even christian!

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’m glad someone finnally had the nerve to ask him why he is angry at life.

        @Colonel Jack O’Neill I honestly feel bad for you, it must be awful to live with such negativity. Seriously, no sarcasm meant.

        • watchwhathappens says:

          @Kimaroo – Fortified with Kittydus Purrularis: Wow, that’s incredibly judgmental and short-sighted. It’s about how everyone loves to watch the Peanuts Christmas specials because of their sentimental attachment to them, but they have long ago missed the whole message of the show, about how consumerism (how appropriate!) has taken over the holiday. It’s a time to exclude others. You apparently have somewhere lovely to go each Christmas, but not everyone does, and for those people, it’s a very lonely time. The irony is that very few people think about the actual “spirit of the season”, and instead, they hole up with the same people and never give a thought to those who might be alone.

          And the music – it’s excruciating. I don’t need to hear “Santa Baby” 4500 times. It’s not cute.

          • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

            @watchwhathappens: I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear, but I wasn’t talking about Christmas at all. I have noticed that 99% of his comments are negative. I honestly think that it would be a sad thing to live with so much anger inside. I just noticed that PecanPi finnally said something regarding his negativity.

    • Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill: I agree with you. I have my own reasons for hating this time of year. I don’t talk to my family because I needed to separate myself from alot of the drama that goes on. So around this time of year all my friends go back home or go away with their fam and it is just me and my cat. I buy her lots of toys and I order Chinese food and watch DVR’d programs or play with my xbox.

  17. Scuba Steve says:

    Any sooner than Halloween, and I bring out Zombie Jesus to eat your brains.

  18. Professional_Iceberg_Hunter says:

    You know, I hate it when people call the Christmas tree, “holiday tree” in an attempt to be politically correct. Please, retailers, this country was founded on Judeo Christian values (Puritans). Besides, most of this country identifies themselves as Christians, so why not just call it the Christmas Tree!?

    Also, they should start selling their goods near Gobble-Gobble day. This gives people enough time to set everything up.

    • ponycyndi says:

      @Professional_Iceberg_Hunter: Conversely, I demand that they call the menorah a ‘Holiday candlestick”. Fair is fair, and Christians can use candlesticks too!

    • Clobberella says:

      @Professional_Iceberg_Hunter: Hmm, we should call it a Christmas tree because of the Puritans, you say. I wonder what the Puritans’ stance was on Christmas trees? Oh look, the History Channel seems to know:

      “To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims’s second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out “pagan mockery” of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.”

      Now, I agree with you that it should be called a “Christmas tree” as long as it is a tree that is decorated for the purpose of celebrating Christmas. But it doesn’t have squat to do with “Judeo-Christian values” (um, and the “Judeo” part of that isn’t particularly relevant to this discussion in the first place) or Puritans or founding fathers or teabags or whatever the hell else. Also, let us remember that Christmas is not a holiday just for Americans, and that it is certainly not just a holiday for self-righteous douchebags who use every December as an excuse to wail and gnash their teeth with their feigned outrage whenever someone, especially a shop clerk, has the audacity to wish them happy holidays or to practice a different religion. So Bah Humbug to you, good sir/madam!

      PS: I am both shocked and highly offended that you replaced the Judeo-Christian-American sacred holiday name “Thanksgiving” with the bizzare and highly inappropriate “Gobble Gobble Day”. Please return your Christian Patriot Card to headquarters.

  19. unpolloloco says:

    Martin Luther King Day.

    Seriously, stores have the freedom to sell Christmas merchandise whenever they want. I just won’t be buying any of it until after Thanksgiving.

  20. PixelProphet says:

    I saw christmas adverts before halloween, and even christmas stuff in isles next to halloween isles this year.

    This by far is the worst year for Christmas creep.

  21. Daveinva says:

    Tree goes up day after Thanksgiving, no sooner. Been that way all my life.

    If you need Christmas stuff earlier than that, go visit a Christmas village store, or just stock up after 26 December– plan ahead, people.

    It’s not the creep that bothers me so much as the clothing shifting. Why the merchandising gods above decided that I can’t buy a winter coat in, you know, *winter* or swimsuits in summer is beyond me.

  22. ElizabethD says:

    I think “after Thanksgiving” is too late for lots of marketing and sale-pricing campaigns. But I wish they’d at least wait until mid-November. Well, our opinions mean nothing, obviously, given that this year Christmas started Creeping in August.

  23. Outrun1986 says:

    I think after halloween is fine, the problem with the creep starts when it comes in before halloween and mixes with the halloween stuff. I would also appreciate if they waited till like November 3rd or 4th to start putting up the decorations because at that point I am still shopping for next year’s halloween stuff and don’t want to look at Xmas stuff right around the corner. I also don’t want to look at Xmas decorations ON halloween.

    The stores need something to fill the void in the aisles and there isn’t enough thanksgiving merchandise to do that. But please leave a little bit of thanksgiving stuff out and don’t put out the Xmas stuff until a couple days after halloween.

  24. Scoobatz says:

    Monday, November 2nd. That’s the day I drove home past a house with about 20 inflatable Christmas decorations in the front yard.

  25. venomroses says:

    Since I’m Canadian, Thanksgiving is in October. So after Halloween is fine.

    I remember being in a mall in the middle of the night after a show on halloween and the maintenance people were putting up christmas decorations. That was five years ago.

  26. Nighthawke says:

    This year the creep I feel, actually pulled back a bit. I haven’t seen much in the way of Christmas merchandise being put out, or even hearing holiday tunes being put out on the PA system.

  27. JustDumpIt says:

    Wintery stuff after Halloween so you can have traditional ‘Winter’ decorations like pine boughs and fancy plates to decorate for Thanksgiving. Many northern states have some snow by then anyway. Specifcally themed X-Mas/Holiday stuff should wait until after Thanksgiving though. (As an aside, my family gets together from across the country for Thanksgiving not Christmas, so we tend to blend them. We don’t expect to buy X-Mas stuff though. We drag out what we already have for decorations.)

  28. midnight_raven says:

    I’m okay with beginning to advertise and sell Christmas merchandise after Halloween – I like to shop early and not cram it in last minute. But Christmas music is another thing altogether – that can wait until after Thanksgiving, or better yet, December 1.

  29. midnight_raven says:

    Advertising and sales after Halloween, I can stand. And even enjoy, because I like to shop early (and avoid the budget crisis of buying everything all at once right before Christmas).

    But Christmas music? THAT can wait until after Thanksgiving, if not December 1.

  30. laurakeener says:

    thanksgiving isn’t and never was much of a holiday anyways; bring on the christmas stuff. so long as people get into the “spirit” for more time, I have no problem with more xmas earlier

  31. SeattleTed is proud to like Robert Zimmerman says:

    I look forward to Consumerist regular updates on when shorts go on sale in the late winter. SHORTS ARE FOR SALE IN MARCH! SUMMER CREEP CONTINUES!

  32. thesadtomato says:

    Here’s a more subtle form of Christmas Creep: I saw Silk brand Soy Egg Nog (I call it Snog)on the shelves in October, I want to say at the week before Halloween.

    I confess that as much as I hate Christmas Creep, I love Snog and don’t mind if it creeps onto the shelf as soon as it gets cold outside each year.

  33. INTPLibrarian says:

    I’m all for post-Halloween. Midnight of October 31st is fine, but not a minute before!

    OTOH, Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I don’t want it overshadowed by anything else, and Thanksgiving is my least favorite so I don’t mind ignoring it. :-)

  34. windycitygirl68 says:

    No sooner had Halloween ended Saturday evening than Sunday my wonderful Giant Eagle grocery store was busy putting up the giant Santa and Frosty inflatables in the front of the store. The general merchandise aisle was littered in Christmas stuff – not a turkey or cornucopia to be had. Thank goodness I still have my “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” DVD to turn to in times like these – AND my cornucopia is adorning the dining room table. Bah, humbug!

  35. coren says:

    I don’t know, in my mind “Christmas Creep” carries the connotation (look at that alliteration!) that it is unseasonably early, in which case I’d be voting on when it was too early for it to be too early..? I see that the poll itself clarifies, but Christmas Creep shouldn’t apply to an appropriately timed rolling out of the holiday paraphernalia.

  36. julieannie says:

    Considering I start my Christmas shopping after Halloween to spread the spending across 3 credit card bills, I’m not really bothered. I won’t put up my personal decorations until after Thanksgiving but that’s more of a “I don’t want to dust this shit for months!” kind of thing.

    I just feel like I have bigger fish to fry than freaking out about a garland or Christmas display. People need something to look forward to in their lives right now. No need to be a Grinch.

  37. jstonemo says:

    Will be decorating my house this weekend. Can’t let 70° temps go to waste. Too many times have I froze to death putting up decorations. The cold air will be back soon enough in my part of the country.

  38. morganlh85 says:

    I think it depends on the weather. When the red and orange leaves are still on the trees, it’s TOO EARLY for xmas music. Now if it starts snowing early and getting wintery, then it doesn’t bother me so much. But when I hear “Let it snow” on the radio and there are fall leaves covering my car and it’s still 50 degrees out, I get annoyed.

  39. Dyscord says:

    I actually said after labor day. I never understood the hate behind the christmas creep. If some places want to sell christmas stuff early then that’s perfectly fine. Some people actually prefer to get their decorations and/or gifts out of the way and avoid the rush.

  40. HIcycles says:

    According to my wife, Christmas is all year round!

  41. flugennock says:

    Possibly the worst Christmas Creep I ever saw was actually twenty years ago, in the form of a “Radio Shack Merry Christmas” commercial during the seventh-inning stretch of the last game of the World Series.

    That’s right. The goddamn’ World Series.

  42. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Sadly, there’s a specialty toy store round here that advertises with Christmas themes all year round. On Dec 26 of this year, you bet they’re going to start running newspaper ads saying “GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS 2010!”

  43. StanTheManDean says:

    Personally, I like January 2nd.

    Gotta have the time from Dec 26 thru the 31st to return the crap I don’t want.

  44. P_Smith says:

    Celebrating a loose wife with a bastard child and a cuckolded husband is creepy.

    Buying things is not a “celebration” and charity is self-serving egotism unless you do it year round.

  45. Gracegottcha says:

    I wait all year for eggnog, peppermint and pumpkin pie ice cream flavors. Besides, it takes a few weeks to actually get in the mood. I’m okay with Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff AFTER Halloween, but not before. I mean, pretty much the day after Halloween until January second is one big holiday anyway – That’s why it’s called the Holiday Season :)

  46. ogremustcrush says:

    I drink peppermint mochas year round, they are just too good. Helps that I just make my own at home though.

  47. ILOVETOEAT says:

    This guy says it all…..listen to the Halloween refrence

    + Watch video

  48. karlbonner1982 says:

    My opinion is to allow for a SMALL section of Christmas ornaments and stuff in a secluded back aisle as early as the start of October, as long as it’s out of sight of mainstream shoppers. In early November you can start making discreet references to things like catalogs and holiday gift cards. Wait until Thanksgiving to pull out the bulk of decorations, and even then introduce the music only slowly, not getting to continuous Yuletide standards until about December 10 or so.

    But I also think Thanksgiving should be two weeks earlier so that its seasonal themes conform more to Mother Nature’s calendar.