In late October, I had to check my wife into the hospital for septic shock. It was a horrible experience, and terribly scary, and there were several days where I thought for sure I was going to lose the love of my life. She was at a hospital an hour away for 22 days, and although it was late October, I got into the habit of listening to Christmas music on the drive.
Yes, I know that for many people, Christmas music before December causes them to actually vomit in their mouth. But I needed something to pick up my spirits. I was living through a pandemic, and my wife was in the hospital, so I cranked up Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” and I’ll be honest, it helped.
As it turns out, I’m not alone in this logic. Not by a long shot. According to Christmas retailers, tons of people are looking to get into the holiday spirit early this year. So much so that as of November 14th, some retailers have begun to sell out of decorations.
Mac Harman, owner and founder of Balsam Brands, a leading maker of artificial trees and other holiday items, told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “Holiday decor buying across the board has been off the charts.” According to Harman, since July, holiday decor sales at his company were up 50% over last year: “Some days we’re up 200%.” And the trend is not unique to the United States. Balsam Brands’ online sales are also up in the UK, France and Germany.
This surge to buy holiday items is hitting big box stores, too. Lance Allen, merchant of decorative holiday merchandise for Home Depot stores, told the LA Times that he chain was expecting a busy holiday season in 2020. However, they didn’t fully realize how big the coronavirus effect would be. “We’ve seen interest ramp up year after year, but this year it’s off the charts from what we’ve seen before,” Allen said. “We’re already seeing indications of strong Christmas tree and Christmas light sales online. People aren’t just buying early, they’re buying bigger than ever. We think we’re going to see some competition this year, because people are home with more time on their hands, so they can go way big on decorations.”
Naturally, however, going big and early on decorations in 2020 isn’t without its struggles, because 2020 wouldn’t be 2020 without some sort of an issue. For example, online retailers are selling out of holiday items way earlier than usual. Like they are selling out now, as I type. To help you understand exactly how early people started looking for holiday items, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette found that searches for holiday items usually begin in September. However, according to Pinterest, pins of Christmas ideas started in April. Yes, you read that right … April. People were still celebrating Easter, while searching for 2020 Christmas items. Christmas related searches for gift ideas, recipes and decor were 77% higher this past April than they were in the same month last year.
And it’s not just demand that’s an issue. It’s also shipping. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but getting something shipped in the middle of a pandemic can be downright painful. Items that used to come in two days are arriving in two weeks, and it sounds like holiday decorations are NOT being placed in the fast lane at the post office.
“The country simply doesn’t have the shipping capacity,” notes Harman in the Gazette. “It’s not simply a matter of hiring more drivers and getting more trucks. The sorting facilities are at their maximums, so stuff sits. I’m telling everyone I know to buy their Christmas presents now. Last-minute won’t cut it.”
So if we add it all up, this simple truth bomb I am about to lay down will either be a joyful reality or a nauseating realization. You need to start shopping for holiday decorations now. In fact, in some cases, it sounds like it might already be too late.
For me, a guy who totally loves the holidays and used Christmas music as a way to feel better about having his wife in the hospital, I’m pumped. I love the idea of putting the tree up the moment I finish writing this article. For us early decorators, eager to start the holidays as soon as humanly possible — this is your year, my friends. Don’t be shy about it, and don’t make excuses for putting up the holiday decorations ASAP.
For those of you who feel like early holiday decorating is a lot like eating at a restaurant too soon after food poisoning, I’m sorry, but you are in the minority in 2020. Everything is upside down this year, and we need all the joy we can get, so put those feelings on the sideline and decorate early … if you can get your decor shipped fast enough, that is.
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