WMU News

Christmas before its time

November 19, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Wonder why those carols were blaring before Thanksgiving? Or how retailers could have Christmas trees up at the same time as jack o' lanterns? Blame a cultural shift, that has made the early marketing of Christmas more acceptable, says Dr. Jay Lindquist, WMU professor of marketing. Lindquist says there are several key reasons why retailers are marketing Christmas earlier and earlier every year. "Our society as a whole is becoming more secular and there isn't the strong tie to the religious celebration of Christmas that there used to be," Lindquist says. "The gift exchange is becoming more of a tradition than the religious celebration." In addition, stiff competition among retailers is driving early sales. And last, Thanksgiving -- that other holiday between Halloween and New Year's Day -- no longer carries the emphasis it did in the past. "The roots of Thanksgiving are in the white, European Protestant culture of the colonies," he says "One has to wonder, as we approach a time next century when Hispanic-Americans will be the largest ethnic group, if Thanksgiving has the same meaning to this group or other ethnic groups in our country." Lindquist can be reached at (616) 387-6062.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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