Most of us would agree that part of the season has become too commercial. How do we end up getting seduced by all the flashy merchandising and buying something we really don't need on December 24, only to have a day's rest, and gear back up to hit the stores for the Boxing Day sales?
Well, one way to stop that is to shop early!
As I was on vacation this summer, I came across a small store just outside Moncton, New Brunswick, called The Twelve Months of Christmas. This is a store dedicated to selling Christmas merchandise twelve months of the year. I drove through this quaint little town to arrive at a beautiful white victorian with a small Christmas sign outside. Inside, the walls were sparsely covered with decorations, so I was a little nonplussed. I then found out that they were moving, so I forgave them a little bit. I did a quick look around, but found nothing I could pack and ship back with me safely. I hope they do well in their new location.
That got me thinking. There used to be a Christmas store in my city, but it closed due to rising rent and online competition. With a city of over one million people you would think a store would be able to survive. It was located in a trendy area of town, so it received lots of out of town visitors. I loved going in to see the new products that came in each year. Plus I collect Santas, so it was especially fun to find a new version of the jolly guy in the red suit. So, I was quite surprised when it sold off its merchandise and closed for good.
There seems to be a Christmas store in most major centers. Search "Christmas retail stores" and you'll get a comprehensive list of ones in Canada and the US. I've found one even in the middle of a largely Mennonite community, so why can't we keep one going? I know that most people don't even want to think about the holidays when they're on their summer vacation, but it makes me smile when I see a Christmas store. I know that I can have that joy any time of the year.
So, here's my challenge to all of you. If you have a Christmas store in your city or town, make a point of shopping there. Go out and buy something once a week. It doesn't have to be extravagant. A little ornament, a music cd, or a small gift. During the summer many stores have great sales to help make room for the new merchandise in the fall, so take advantage. And tell your friends. Don't let the all year Christmas store become a thing of the past.