Christmas comes early again at Selfridges

Christmas decoration. Photograph by Graham Soult

Christmas decoration

Today’s BBC News story about Selfridges’ imminent opening of its Christmas shop made me wonder whether I should just dust off and recycle my blog post from a year ago.

Back then, I expressed incredulity about why anyone would wish to purchase baubles “adorned with Union flags” or ‘We Love England’ slogans a whole 137 days before Christmas. Clearly I knew nothing, however, with the BBC article revealing that Selfridges’ “festive shop sold more than 1,000 baubles during the first week of trading after opening on 8 August.”

The consequence of that success is that this year’s festive store at Selfridges is opening a whole six days earlier than a year ago. So, on August 6th, when most of us are still thinking about summer holidays and barbecues, those who are so inclined can head over to Selfridges to snap up Christmas tree decorations.

Geraldine James, Selfridges Christmas Shop’s buying manager, seems to have sussed what the logical progession will be of Christmas decoration shopping getting earlier and earlier, claiming in the article that she “can see a time when we offer a capsule Christmas collection throughout the year.”

My initial reaction to this prospect was one of horror, but then it brought to mind those all-year Christmas shops that I’ve encountered on my travels, such as The Christmas Emporium in Pitlochry. Presumably there must be a market for Christmas decorations throughout the year, or such shops wouldn’t exist.

It seems pretty clear, however, that this move towards year-round Christmas retailing isn’t really targeted at the British public, but is more about capturing the attention – and credit cards – of overseas tourists who may wish, for whatever reason, to take a Christmas-themed souvenir back home with them.

In this context, you might conclude that Selfridges’ potential all-year ‘capsule collection’ doesn’t seem such a crazy idea. On the other hand, in selling Christmas decorations to overseas tourists in August, I think Selfridges needs to be slightly careful not to evoke too much ridicule among its UK customers.

What do you think? Is this merely a harmless and throwaway story during the media’s summer silly season? Or is there something slightly unsettling – or even cynical – about a retailer launching its Christmas shop in August?

Looking forward, as always, to your thoughts.

One Response to “Christmas comes early again at Selfridges”

  1. Seamaster said:

    Jul 19, 10 at 10:14

    There is a small town in Michigan in the USA where it’s Christmas all year round. Established by German immigrants, it hosts huge stores selling Christmas tat day in, day out. I stumbled on the place one summer, and thought I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

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