Dear Target: Stop Ruining Christmas

Dear Target,

I come to you after years of frustration, waiting to see if the issue would resolve itself. It has not, and Christmas is being ruined as a result. Admittedly, things seem better this year, but it is not enough. I feel I finally have to say something.

Target, you are ruining Christmas.

Oh, it feels good to say that out loud! This is something that has been bothering me for a long time. Please know, Target, I do not think you are the ENTIRE source of Christmas ruination, but as a leader and good example for the other stores I feel you must be singled out. Plus, our relationship goes back a long time (you were my first word, after all. I guess your television ads really caught my attention), so I felt that we could speak openly about this matter.

How are you ruining Christmas, you may ask? Mainly, the Christmas season is now SO DARN LONG. Everything special about the season is overshadowed by its length. There is no real enjoyment in having the season so long; it becomes more of an obligation, and what fun is that? Plus, allowing the Christmas season to start in October cuts into Halloween enjoyment (I guess that means you are kind of ruining Halloween, too, Target). “Officially” starting Christmas after Thanksgiving squeezed all the fun in during a specific time – that was part of the enjoyment! An overlong Christmas season is stressful, and becomes something to endure, rather than enjoy.

This was on October 18th. Our kids had not even finalized their Halloween costume details. One holiday at a time, please!

See, Christmas is a special time for so many. People come together, regardless of how or why they chose to celebrate. Traditions are happily anticipated, and new ones are created. We show love to family, friends and strangers alike. Christmas is a magical time of love, warmth and great Christmas specials (don’t even get me started on how wrong it is that we can now watch A Charlie Brown Christmas any time of year). That magic is now snuffed out because the early seasonal bombardment. I mean, really, how can one properly focus on Halloween when Christmas lights are on sale?

I know you will have excuses for this, like “The customers want it”, “The Other Stores are doing it”. Um, no, Target. Be better than that. Be a leader. No excuses.

First of all, Target, do not blame the customers. That is like giving a kid candy every time they ask for it, then blaming the child for being greedy. I will not have that. Customers will still buy during a shorter season. Yes, they probably mindlessly buy more the sooner holiday items are out, but brand loyalty can increase by delaying the season. Make Christmas shopping into an extra-special event people will want to experience. Minimum, I suggest snowy decorations, free treats and apple cider the day after Thanksgiving. Who wouldn’t want a Winter Wonderland with free treats? I would love to get up early to experience all of those warm fuzzy feelings! If you are really nervous about low holiday sales, push it online if you must, but make the in-store launch special.

This arrived before Halloween. Christmas catalogs should be perused with carols on in the background, while drinking hot chocolate – not while walking in crunchy leaves from getting your fix of PSL.

I propose this: Do not roll-out the Target Christmas Season until November 1st AT THE EARLIEST next year. No displays, gift sets or subtle ads. Nothing. Ignore Christmas until Halloween is over. Then, as employees are marking the discounted costumes and candy, start small. A few end caps, perhaps, and maybe a small section devoted to ornaments and lights. Gradually add items as November progresses – perhaps beribboned candy gifts, pj’s and slippers. Finally, proclaim your spot as the Holiday Titan that you are by revealing your glorious full Christmas Wonderland at 6 am the day after Thanksgiving, when people are properly whipped up on pie, caffeine and Christmas anticipation, ready to make their purchases from Target in a frenzy of credit cards!

(Also, do not open on Thanksgiving. Add to the Black Friday purchasing frenzy by staying closed. Plus, holiday hours make employees bitter. )

Stand out, Target, and stop ruining Christmas. Let Other Stores start the season of stress early. Be different. Be fun. Lead by example, show how a Big Trend Setter works. Be bold. And amazing. Give Christmas its sparkle back. Tell the world how Minnesota gets it done.

Lady Experience

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