This week, most of your families will be searching the supermarkets for the best Butterball turkey they can find, along with everyone’s favorite stuffing, cranberry sauce and all of their close counterparts. But, while you fill your baskets with Thanksgiving Day goodies, familiar sights and sounds will bring sentimental feelings flooding to your brain: the holidays.
While Rudolf, the Three Wise Men and Frosty the Snowman accompany you and your family on your journey through the Winter Wonderland that is ShopRite, take a second and think of the strategy behind why the holidays come early for most retail stores.
In the less-than-resilient state of the economy, retailers are trying to squeeze out every penny they can from consumers during the winter season, and that means starting early. This year, retail analysts are expecting a 3 percent sales growth as compared to 4.1 percent last year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. These figures cause competition and opportunity seeking for companies, which means the first to put up the holiday decorations wins.
While starting to put up decorations after Halloween is the norm for most retail stores, many people have said that some stores like Costco started putting up decorations after labor day. Although many people state their grievances for the early sight of tinsel and smell of fresh pine flowing through stores, nearly 40 percent of people begin their holiday shopping before Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation.
If most people start buying presents and preparing for the holiday season before the jack-o-lanterns are lit, the retailers have to keep up.
Other than the need for retailers to make their budget plans during the prime fall and winter months, decorations and music allow everyone to start thinking about the holidays and get them in the mood to be a little more joyful. Whether you believe it or not, holiday music flowing through the air, twinkling lights and fake snow glistening in display windows reminds me of when I was a little kid and didn’t have a care in the world. What better time than this, when students are prepping for finals and many seniors are getting ready to graduate, to be a kid again?
We can also start to think about the care of others. Food donations are starting up and many organizations are asking for canned goods for those in need. There is nothing like holiday music and decorations to remind me of gathering together for a good cause.
Here at Rider, students, faculty and staff are asked to donate a canned good when participating in the Thanksgiving Gathering on Nov. 17 in the Cavalla Room in the Bart Luedeke Center. This is a way to give back to the community and show that students can make a difference.
While you walk through the mall or grocery stores this week preparing to gather with your family, just remember, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Senior journalism major
Printed in the 11/16/16 issue.