Local News

Holiday shopping creeping earlier than usual

SEBRING - It's a bit frightening. An array of ghosts, ghouls and jack-o'-lanterns are displayed across from pre-lighted Christmas trees and miniature winter village decorations, which are just down the aisles from the fall and Thanksgiving decor. The blacks and oranges of Halloween are competing with the browns and ambers of fall, which are clashing with the bright reds and greens of Christmas. While many shoppers say retailers should wait at least until after Halloween to start decking their shelves for Christmas, others are prepped to start buying decorations and gifts.
Jesse Henon of Avon Park noticed a Halloween display across from the Christmas trees at Kmart. "It's silly," he said. "You walk in and you've got Halloween; you know that is still about a month away and then you've got Christmas displays already and that's three months away. When you get as old as we are, things go too fast, you don't need to make them go any faster." But Peggy Brooks of Sebring looked for the latest in Christmas decorations. "If you don't buy them now, they won't have them when you need them," she said. "I love decorating; Christmas is my favorite and Halloween is next." She has a harvest tree at her home, which will come down after Halloween, and then the Christmas decorations go up. She takes about three weeks to decorate for Christmas. It turned out the cosmetics department had just what she needed. Holding a few black scrunchies, she said, "These are going to be the buttons to go on my snowman tree." A trip to the toy department was in order for Ann Marie McNamara and her three children: Isabel, 7, Tallan, 5, and Sofy, 3. McNamara said they are "roaming" the toy aisles so she can get an idea of what her children want for Christmas. Tallan didn't want to wait for Santa as he had his eyes and hands on a Batman helicopter. Can he get it "If I be good in the whole store?" he asked his mother. "Maybe," she ventured. A few moments later, while holding a couple of toys, Tallan said, "I want to get this for Christmas; I want to get this for today and I want to get that bat flying thing for today." Some stores are waiting just a bit before decking out for the Christmas season. Vince Joy, manager of the Sebring JCPenny, said his store's holiday trim shop will be ready with Christmas trees, ornaments and dishes on Oct. 18. Fall merchandise like sweaters and jackets are already on display, he said. Those commenting on Facebook believed it's too early for Christmas displays in stores. Linda Hunt of Sebring said: "One [holiday] at a time. Retailers are rushing things a bit." Jean Deuth of Lake Placid wrote: "I personally think it's hideous that Christmas trees ... are already on display." Jennifer Martinez thinks "it is ridiculous that they have Christmas stuff out already and Christmas decorations staged at the mall to go up." mvalero@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5826