Christmas Creep Hits October

ABC News’ Scott Mayerowitz reports: “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh…”

Welcome to Christmas, um, I mean October. But if retailers have their way, you will soon be singing Jingle Bells and parting with your cash.

That’s right, 12 weeks before Christmas some retailers are already hawking gifts.

Apparently worried about the economy and consumers’ fears, Wal-Mart kicked off the holiday season today. (Yes, your calendar is right, it is Oct. 1.) The world’s largest retailer has reduced prices on some of the most popular toys, and will fast track the opening of “Christmas shops” in stores nationwide.

There is big money at stake. Holiday sales account for roughly 20 percent of retailers’ annual sales. If they can extend the season by a week or two, they hope to draw in more shoppers and boost the bottom line.

It’s called “Christmas creep,” and this year it seems to be occurring more than ever. Besides a poor economy, there are also five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day than in 2007. No matter how much creep there is, Thanksgiving and the “Black Friday” sales after it will probably always be the real start of the holiday shopping season.

But don’t expect me to go gift shopping anytime soon. I have yet to shop for a Halloween costume.

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