There’s a Christmas arms race and it’s difficult to see how it can be stopped. The shops have had Christmas decorations in since, oh, October and the tv stations are advertising their Chistmas schedules and even broadcasting seasonal programmes already (like The Little Prince on the BBC).
High-street shops make a sizeable chunk of their annual sales at Christmas and if they can steal a march on their rivals by stocking up early on Christmas goods and grabbing a bigger share, why not do it? It’s the logic of the market. Everyone then has to play catch-up and the Christmas season begins earlier and earlier every year. In the UK the start has crept over the firebreak of Guy Fawkes (November 5th), which for years seemed to be an early limit on the beginning of Christmas retailing. It’s pushed back past Halloween (October 31st) and now there seems nothing to stop it moving further back to the end of summer.