Thursday, November 17, 2011

How do you sell Thanksgiving?

I've been seeing this cartoon a lot in the last week or so.  It depicts how many seem to skip over the holiday of Thanksgiving which is next Thursday.  Many have noted how Thanksgiving seems overshadowed by Halloween and Christmas in stores.

Every year someone always complains that Thanksgiving gets forgotten by stores, that Christmas gets focused on once Halloween ends.  Actually, Christmas comes to stores even earlier than that, as early as September, before Halloween is even over, before the calendar even switches to October.  Halloween merchandise comes in as early as August, sometimes in July.  The Spirit Store in Gilroy, CA had its banner up the last Friday in July on the empty building it chose to occupy this year, and the store didn't even open till Labor Day weekend in September.  

I must admit I've don't hate Thanksgiving, but that last few times I went to a family gathering  on this holiday, everyone just sat around gabbing and watching football while waiting for the dinner to be ready.  And no one went around saying they're thankful for this or that.  Do very many people take that idea seriously?   Last year, my mom and a friends and I went to a movie and then to dinner at a restaurant and we may just do the same this year.  It's just not my favorite holiday. 

Why so many decorations for Halloween and Christmas but very few for Thanksgiving? It seems so few people decorate for Thanksgiving.  People will go to great lengths to create a fake graveyard on their lawn for Halloween and a Santa's Village on the lawn for Christmas, but how often do you see a re-creation of Plymouth Rock on someone's lawn?   My answer: never, as far as I can recall.  And I rarely see an inflatable turkey, unlike the inflatable pumpkins or Santa Clauses.  And sometimes it's just a few jack-o-lanterns and a Christmas tree, but Thanksgiving has no real comparable decorations.  The famous cornucopia decoration has seemed to disappeared from store shelves.  I'm not into Thanksgiving decor, but I don't bother with Christmas decorating until at least the weekend after Thanksgiving.   My Halloween decorations went up the night of September 30. I always put them up as close to October 1 as possible, and always get them down on November 1.   

When I arrived at work on Monday, the music system that plays over the intercom started playing Christmas music intermittently among the music it normally plays.  After Thanksgiving is over next week, we can expect to hear Christmas music all day long until Christmas is over.  Already it's getting overdone.  And some stores were already playing Christmas music before ours was.   I heard some on the intercom at Kmart about a week or so ago.  And I could not resist listening to samples of the Christmas music CDs at Target on the kiosk.  And some radio stations begin playing all Christmas music sometime in November like this one from San Francisco.  It's been years since I've listened to that station and  I probably never will listen again.  And since Christmas music has turned up at stores, I coud not help listening to my own Christmas music this week, including the "Twisted Christmas" music by Bob Rivers.   

Many have noted that Thanksgiving is not a "sellable" holiday.  Halloween is sellable in that people always buy costumes and candy and even decorations.  And of course Christmas is all about selling presents, trees, and decorations.   Halloween is mostly about the costumes, everyone wanting to be a witch, a clown or a celebrity-du-jour.  Websites selling costumes more than likely make their most sales at Halloween, but a few Santa suits might get bought by people wanting to play Santa for their kids or by those taking seasonal jobs as Santas in malls.  But how many people are going to buy Thanksgiving costumes, unless they're participating in a play at school or in a community theater group? It's like the only stores that really "sell" Thanksgiving are the food stores, since it's more of a food-centered holiday than a decoration-centered one and even less of a costume-centered one.  Thanksgiving-themed candy seems rare, although the Indian Corn variety of Candy Corn comes closest.  And just last week at Safeway, I saw some of those Holiday Shape cookies, for Thanksgiving, with turkey images.  So the holiday isn't totally ignored, but Thanksgiving seems to be mostly about food.

I'm still not certain about trying to make any Christmas decoration to try to sell on Etsy (I made no sells with my papier mache Halloween decorations) and I may not have a lot of time.  If I didn't put them up till December, would anyone buy them? Do I have to have them up before even November, like retail stores do with their Christmas merchandise?  I opened my Etsy shop at the end of August and began listing my Halloween decorations on  the first weekend of September.  Plenty of views, but no sales, and no shop "favoriters" as of yet.  Currently I have no items for sale, but am thinking I will put up some boxes I made last spring of rolled-up pieces of store circulars.  These might make good Christmas presents. 

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