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Unshackle the holidays from uncreative, greedy execs

August 11, 2016
Editorial , Lake Placid News

Congratulations, corporate America. You continue to cheapen our most sacred holidays by encroaching on our summertime respite from the long winter season.

By putting out Halloween candy in the aisles of chain stores in early August, you've taken away a month that used to be about warm weather, gardening, picnics and days at the beach. Now it's about sales for holidays that won't be here for at least three more months. Psychologically, you've lengthened our cold season in the Northeast. Thanks a lot!

The question that first comes to mind is "Why?" Why do we need three months to buy Halloween candy? It gets worse in September, when the Christmas stuff starts filling the stores. Why do we need four months to buy stuff for Christmas? And why do we need to associate Christmas with July?

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Eventually, the answer comes down to money. Greed. The stores want to make as much money as possible for the crucial holiday season, so they keep extending it. Yet, without proper scientific studies, we're not convinced this strategy really works.

Are people really stocking up on big bags of candy in August and hiding them from the kids until Halloween? Three months before the holiday, people are most likely buying the bigger bags of candy because they are bigger bags of candy, and they are eating it now. Remember, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs. We want bigger bags of candy, no matter the time of year.

The health police have taken away soda machines from the schools and Supersize meals from McDonald's because of the obesity crisis, yet nobody is saying anything about those huge bags of Halloween candy people are buying in the summer and eating while they binge watch their favorite shows on Netflix. Why not?

It's more likely that the ever-growing holiday shopping season is more about corporate America's lack of creativity than it is about greed. Visualize a sales strategy meeting with executives sitting around a table. They ask the same question they asked a year ago: "What do we put in the seasonal aisle that we can sell?" Without any creative ideas, they fall back on the standard: "Let's put the Halloween candy out earlier." Problem solved. The encroachment continues.

Instead of taking the easy way out, we encourage corporate America to get creative. Either stop sucking the life out of your employees or start hiring more creative people. Surround yourself with creativity.

To benefit the mental health of our citizens, we have to change the culture. We need a social revolution that puts an end to the holiday madness. For too many years, corporations have taken the meaning out of our most sacred holidays, such as Christmas, with their commercialization. This is our country. These are our traditions. We should take them back.

A boycott is the best strategy. If stores don't start stocking holiday stuff on a more reasonable timetable, consumers should start avoiding those stores until the proper time. One month before a holiday should give people enough time to buy their holiday stuff.

Start selling Halloween candy on Oct. 1 instead of Aug. 1. Start selling Thanksgiving stuff four weeks before the holiday. And only sell Christmas stuff between Nov. 25 and Dec. 25 (not including after-Christmas sales). No more Christmas in July!

It's silly that we feel compelled to write about this topic. After all, like George Carlin said, it's only stuff. "That's all your house is," Carlin said. "It's a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff."

Yet our holidays have meaning. At least they did before corporate America decided how we're supposed to be living our lives and when we're supposed to be buying our holiday stuff.

Let's take the holidays back, America, and spend more of our time on important issues, such as climate change, poverty and education. We're sure the U.S. economy can survive two more months without selling Halloween candy.



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