Pushing the Seasons

Josie Leavitt -- September 9th, 2009

Fall is truly a glorious time to be a bookseller. The boxes of yummy frontlist just keep pouring in, waiting to be shelved. One thing that comes in with the great new releases are Christmas and Hanukkah books. Sure, they’re just as delicious, but it’s only September.

I’ve been selling books now for thirteen years and it just seems to be that holiday books come earlier every year. And every year, I’m faced with the dilemma of putting them out when they come in, or waiting for the weather to at least be below 50 degrees. For some odd reason, there are people who want holiday books — and cards! — in August.  I just can’t bring myself to do it. Rushing the season, having Christmas books out with the back-to-school display, just seems wrong.

I don’t want customers to feel the sinking dread I do when I walk into my local drugstore in late July and the Halloween candy is already out. Deep down, I think we all feel it, it’s just wrong. In this speeded-up world, where we’re attached to our BlackBerrys and iPhones and people get mad if you don’t respond to an email within the hour, why are we pushing seasons fully three to four months before they’re actually here?

Halloween and fall books are perfect for right now. The kids are back in school, there is a crispness to the air that puts a happy smile on most faces. It feels right to set up a display of these books, but not Christmas. There’s not even any hope of snow or more than a freak frost right now. Reindeer would suffer in the warm weather, Santa’s still making toys, it’s just wrong. Why must people feel the need to plan so far ahead?

But, I work in retail. I think I can no longer cling to my ethos of "no Christmas display until after Thanksgiving." Our first few years in business, that worked – I even had customers thanking me for not rushing the seasons. But I fear I might have to cave-in to customer pressure and potential lost sales, and put my Christmas books out earlier.

Gotta go, I’ve got a display to do.

2 thoughts on “Pushing the Seasons

  1. J

    Thanks for your post – I completely agree. When aren’t we alowed to enjoy the autumn? Buying cinnamon stars and mince pies in September? You’ll be sick of them by Christmas. I don’t buy strawberries in December and Christmas cards in July – if everybody did it…but that’s a silly argument.

  2. Sandy

    We feel the same way here about putting out Christmas and other holiday books early. Being greeted by Christmas trees in September and Valentine’s hearts in December is high on my list of pet peeves. I also dislike putting out calendars earlier than November (do we really need to make the year go by faster than it already does?) but I’ve had to give in on that one. We sell a ton of VT Life calendars in July & August. I think that there is nothing wrong in holding out until at least mid-November, if not after Thanksgiving, before putting out Christmas cards and books. Living in the Now, Sandy (Hi from The Galaxy Bookshop!)

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