Following the washout summer that we've had, it's hardly surprising that retailers and customers alike are already looking towards the chillier months ahead. Some high street shops have had woolly hats on sale for weeks already, and although this surprised me, it didn't shock me-our high street has been working months ahead of the current season for years, getting earlier and earlier each year, to the extent that it will probably catch up with itself one day.
What did surprise me, however, was walking into a card shop on 23rd August and being greeted with a wall of Christmas cards. Pictures of Santa and snowmen, innocent enough on first glance, but looking at me tauntingly as if to say " We've hijacked your summer and you're not having it back".
Genuine despair. We're used to Christmas overshadowing a large part of autumn, and creeping closer each year to the summer, which, as far as I can recall has remained sacred. Until this year. Normally we are safe from Rudolph's snowy grip until at least the end of the summer holidays, and back to school offers are shuffled off to make space for Christmas items in the 'seasonal' aisle of supermarkets, with perhaps a couple of shelves reserved for Halloween and fireworks .
Christmas months going on sale in August is 4 months before the actual event. That's 1/3 of the entire year. Add onto that most of January with the post Christmas sales and that's 5 months of tinsel and carols. Nearly half of the year dedicated to one day.
Whilst I don't intend to come across all Bah Humbug about this, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. Christmas commandeering our calendar like this can be seen as an insult to people of religions who do not celebrate this festival. I appreciate that we are a Christian country, but we are becoming more diverse every year and it is not fair for the unwilling to be faced with Christmas everywhere they turn for nearly half the year, when other festivals are rarely given more than one shelf in card shops.