Why You See Christmas Advertised so Early

You’re walking into Hobby Lobby in September, and you see it: the Christmas decor display. It’s still hot outside. Why are you seeing Santa hats and red-and-green wreaths? You might hear people complaining that it’s too early, but there’s a reason why businesses continue to push the Christmas season forward.

In 2016, retailers logged $3.19 trillion in Christmas sales. (That’s trillion with a T.) To give you some perspective, retailers sold $5.25 trillion total last year. When you factor in the fact that retail sales make up two-thirds of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to say Christmas sales matter to retailers and the entire U.S. economy is a major understatement. Why wouldn’t you start early?

Due to its importance, companies like Hobby Lobby and Hallmark, who do the majority of their annual business on holiday items, have spent years fine-tuning their holiday rollout for maximum profit. Decades ago, these companies caught flack for using Labor Day as a starting gun for Holiday sales. Even today, some companies, like Toys R Us and Kohl’s, are still bashful about their early start and refuse to comment to the press about it, according to a Chicago Tribune reporter. But over the last 20 years or so, other companies have embraced it.

Hobby Lobby, for one, isn’t shy about the fact that they’ve been selling Christmas decor on the Fourth of July for almost two decades.

“Those new to Hobby Lobby can find it surprising to see Christmas items in the stores before the Fourth of July, but it is nothing new to those who have been shopping with us for a while,” says Hobby Lobby spokesman Bob Miller.

Given their low prices, Hobby Lobby Christmas shopping on the Fourth has become a tradition for some shoppers.

Moral of the story: If your company has a niche, don’t be afraid to own it. Despite the occasional grumblings, Hobby Lobby reports higher sales on Christmas items during July than any other category.