Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Story ideas for covering ‘Christmas creep’

September 25, 2015

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Christmas shopping, via The Independent on Flickr.

It used to be that department stores waited until Oct. 1 before putting up their holiday decorations and stocking shelves with gift items.

But, as Stuart Elliott writes on Media Village, “Christmas Creep” seems to be everywhere this month.

Once Labor Day is out of the way, it’s roughly a 15-week mad dash to the year’s finish line — Christmas, where, everyone hopes, potential pots of gold await. The efforts to encourage consumers to open their wallets during the holiday shopping season, always intense, have gone into overdrive since the Great Recession because the uneven economic recovery requires more heavy lifting to woo dollars from the working class and middle class.

Elliott explains that retailers now are trying to get buyers making purchases throughout the fall, rather than concentrate them at the end of the season.

That way, they can hedge against a late-year economic disaster, or snowstorm, or even a g0vernment shutdown.

To some degree, the strategy is working. Says Elliott,

One in seven American adults, about 32 million in total, already started holiday shopping by early September, according to a CreditCards.com survey reported by USA Today. The early birds include two demographic groups highly prized by marketers, parents and millennials.

How can you cover “Christmas Creep?” Check your local retailers to see who is already pushing holiday specials. Go online and follow some popular shopping sites, such as Amazon.com, to see whether they are targeting deals to your area.

There’s also an angle involving independent businesses, who lately have been touting the Saturday after Christmas as their shopping day. How are small companies and shops appealing to holiday shoppers? Or, are they simply waiting until later?

Finally, there are many festivals and craft fairs throughout the fall. Browse some of the stalls and talk to proprietors to see how much business they are doing this year.

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