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November 7, 2011

Have You Heard of November?

Dear merchandisers of America,


As odd as it may seem on first glance, I’m writing with a concern about your office supplies. You calendars, in particular. I think they’re missing something.


You see, there’s this month between October (when Christmas decorations go up) and December (when Christmas is celebrated). It’s called November. It’s pretty important, at least to me. There’s Thanksgiving, my mom’s birthday, and—get this—the start of Advent, the season my family uses to prepare for Christmas.


Now, I’m not asking you to build your entire marketing plan around the Catholic liturgical calendar or to outfit your offices with calendars of the saints. But I’m curious as to why you start marketing Christmas goods in October. Do you think we’ll forget Christmas is coming?


Or is it that you love Christmas so much, the four weeks of Advent simply aren’t enough? Are you that excited to celebrate the birth of Christ? If only! Or do you find red and green really flattering for your complexions? Do you kind of wish you could wear Christmas sweaters all year round? Is that what this is about? I really hope not.


I admit I’ve considered starting my Christmas shopping a little earlier this year, but it’s not because I want the season to last longer. Rather, it’s because I want to enjoy what the season’s really about. Turns out, it’s not about sleighs and reindeer and cookies. Okay, maybe it’s about cookies, if my grandma’s the one baking them.


It’s really about being with your family and your friends, and being grateful for what already exists in your life, not about what you’re going to get next. Gift-giving is certainly a manifestation of love, and it’s an important one (see The Five Love Languages). But at the end of the day, it’s a symbol, a symbol of something that runs deeper. A symbol of the tremendous love of a God who cares for each and every person on the planet as if s/he were the only one.  Yes, this love is as strong in October as it is in December, but I really don’t think we need to deck the halls that early to remind us of it.


So this letter, which I doubt you’ll receive, is a plea to respect the month of November, and the intelligence—and calendars—of your customers. We know Christmas is coming. We’re excited about it. We’ll buy stuff to help us celebrate, really. In fact, we might even buy more stuff if we weren’t sick of it all by the time the holiday rolled around.


If you take nothing else from my rant, consider this: a Jack-o-Lantern should never have to meet a reindeer face-to-face. It’s just not right.


With best wishes for happy holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving, too), and with hopes that you’ll change your ways next year,


  1. Louise Winget says:

    Good one, Lindsay.

  2. […] the meantime, here’s a photo I talked up while we were home. I know I ranted about Christmas coming too early in the retail world, and so I have to admit that not only am I posting this Halloween-y photo a month late, but it was […]

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