MOCKSVILLE, N.C. — Several Piedmont towns kick off the holidays this weekend with Christmas parades and street side festivals, but some argue the celebrations are too early, while others say starting the Christmas season before Thanksgiving is just a sign of the times and the economy.
In Mocksville, after years of having the town Christmas parade on the first Saturday in December, the town’s Chamber of Commerce has moved the parade and its Hometown Holiday Celebration to this weekend.
Burlington is having its parade Saturday and so is Thomasville.
High Point’s parade is Sunday.
Caroyan McManamy, President of the Mocksville Chamber of Commerce, says it’s all an effort to support local retailers since stores nationwide are starting the shopping season early.
“I do see this as being a sign of the times, you’re seeing things happen a little bit earlier and I think our businesses are doing their darnedest to try and make it. We are not brushing off Thanksgiving but we are trying to give our retailers a little extra edge,” McManamy said.
While there have been some comments in local newspaper and lots of phone calls to the Chamber of Commerce complaining about the change, some experts say it is part of a growing trend.
“The retailers feel the earlier I can get the consumer in my store the better chance I have of relieving him or her of the Christmas shopping money,” said Dr. Sheri Bridges of Wake Forest University’s Center for Retail Innovation.
Shirley Sheppard of Mocksville doesn’t like the change saying, “I think they are having it too early they just wiping away Thanksgiving and doing Christmas before Thanksgiving, which is not right.”
Town resident Phyllis Blanton agrees, “It don’t make no sense, it’s going to seem odd.”
Across the country, stores and retail associations say they’ve started holiday sales, promotions, and celebrations earlier because shoppers have shown they want more time to shop for Christmas.
Stores like Target and Walmart say their early promotions are what customers want and will help them be more profitable this holiday season.
Still some like Sheppard say, “I don’t think that’s the purpose of Christmas.”