Spotted the following in a grocery store on Saturday, three days before Valentine’s Day.

Easter egg dye cups

I think the holiday decoration/candy/card industry has started selling two holidays ahead. Christmas stuff was out in October, with both Halloween and Thanksgiving ahead. Here’s Easter stuff on sale with both Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day in the future.

Decoration-wise, there’s not much between Easter and Independence Day. Sure, people get the day off for Memorial Day, but the closest you get to a themed aisle in the grocery store is that you can buy American flags in more places. After the big Fourth of July patriotic blow-out (which of course is on sale by June), the holiday-industrial complex doesn’t really get going again until October—though back-to-school sales seem to be getting earlier all the time. I wonder when they’ll start going straight into back-to-school from graduation sales?

I stopped in a Starbucks after lunch last Wednesday. I confused the barista by ordering a frappucino—he said something about how I was going to freeze my kidneys or something, and when I remarked that I was going to be in the office, he said he was joking with everyone who ordered anything cold. (Local readers may recall that last week was not particularly warm by SoCal standards.)

I also noticed a stack of boxes by the wall, all of them like this:

No Peeking.  The holidays are coming November 10.

(For the record, this was November 9.) I assumed they were full of Starbucks’ Christmas and holiday-themed merchandise, but it was the phrasing that got me. The holidays start November 10? That’s kind of early, isn’t it?

I suppose it depends on which holidays we’re talking about. Usually, “The Holidays” refers to the Thanksgiving–Christmas period that also manages to encompass Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day. (Wait, no one actually observes Boxing Day? Well, never mind, then.) They could be including Veterans’ Day, but there’s not much in the way of decorations, and the merchandising possibilities don’t tend to overlap much with coffee paraphernalia.

Hmm, here’s an odd thought. In America, we always associate snow with Christmas. Hence the snowflakes printed on the box. But in the southern hemisphere, December is the beginning of summer. I suspect Christmas songs like “Winter Wonderland” don’t get much play in Australia.

Christmas aisle

I dropped into Sav-on briefly today. Among other things I wanted to top off the supply of Halloween candy for Monday. Imagine my surprise to find that Halloween was crammed into half an aisle, and there were two aisles of Christmas already. (You may notice that the sign above this one doesn’t say “Seasonal” or even just “Christmas.” “Christmas” was the next aisle over. This was labeled “Christmas Lights,” presumably to avoid duplicate signs.)

Yes, the Christmas stuff is already up, and it’s still October. It’s annoying enough when malls put up decorations and start playing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving! Soon, buying holiday decorations is going to be like buying seasonal clothing. You’ll have to finish your Christmas shopping in July, or you’ll have to rely on the remaindered stuff that the stores couldn’t get rid of. And you’ll have to pre-order Independence Day fireworks in December, and hope they’re still legal to set off by the time summer rolls around.