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Christmas time has arrived far too early

As a certain four-letter word – Xmas – creeps closer and tunes from Mariah Carey and Bing Crosby drill into our brains from what seems like every shop speaker, I can’t help but feel a bit … repulsed.

There’s no need to see Christmas celebrated as early as October [or in some awful cases, September].

Call me the Grinch, but maybe it’s because it’s a reminder of how fast time passes or because it takes the “fun” away from Christmas because, in some way or another, it’s been ingrained into us that we must spend, spend, spend.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I would like to say that I do, in fact, love Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of the year – being around my family and eating copious amounts of Christmas pudding with my grandma’s famous brandy sauce.

But at the end of the day, businesses won’t shed a tear when they hear you’ve become bankrupt after buying all your friends, family, friends of a friend, and your friend’s cousin’s sister’s aunty wee trinkets that usually end up collecting dust in the cabinet.

In an effort to avoid being selfish, I have also fallen victim to consumerism at this time of the year.

I will only speak for myself on this one and say that I don’t believe retailers advertising Christmas in October will give early-bird shoppers much of a head start.

However, I believe you’re one smart cookie for not leaving your Christmas shopping until the last minute and not having to battle the hordes of shoppers on Christmas Eve.

Christmas has become far too commercial and it seems as though the holiday season is starting slightly earlier each year – a phenomenon known as the “Christmas Creep”.

Meanwhile, the cost of living would also be weighing on people’s minds when they see the early advertisement of Christmas, reminding them of their mounting debts and overstretched budgets.

Most of my friends, some of whom are still at university, must watch their pennies but feel they must spend money on presents, just because it is Christmas.

The Times-Age asked readers on Facebook late last month what their thoughts were around people who had already started their Christmas shopping.

Many comments were all for getting in Christmas shopping early, describing it as good budgeting, or those doing it as being organised on-to-it people who are either ahead of the game or have too much time on their hands.

Others said those who had already started their shopping were over-achievers, wealthy, crazy or “on drugs”.

Other media outlets have reported that through the cunning tools of marketing, there are effective strategies retailers use, one of which is called ‘the scarcity effect’ – which tricks shoppers into thinking that something is scarce or only available for a short time.

‘Overwhelming stimuli’ is another strategy used by marketers. As detailed in an article published by the NZ Herald, this strategy involves surrounding shoppers with stimuli designed to overwhelm the cognitive process, giving less chance to think before buying.

In some form, we will all face ego depletion due to the overwhelming visuals of Christmas.

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