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Selling Christmas

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, December 6, 2004

It was over the meadow and through the woods on Thanksgiving eve, and even before the turkeys came out of the fridge, the Christmas decorations were on the lawns on the way to upstate New York.

Talking with others around the country, this was not a singular event.

But what made it significant was how many lawns had so many lighted Christmas icons — whether Santas, lighted deer, or snowmen.

Another twist for the Black Friday weekend was the emergence of bonus gift cards given in a percentage or dollar form for purchases made during the four-day period, redeemable in a short time frame after the weekend.

The proliferation of the holiday decorations made me think about how they price out in relation to stuff in our world of home textiles. The comparison was easy. There was an abundance of retailer circulars waiting for my perusal — from Boscov's to Macy's to Sears to Kmart.

Looking at Kmart, their big 8-foot snowman was $34.99; their complete outdoor lighted train set was $79.99 and their Martha Stewart Everyday complete bed set was on sale for $59.99 for the twin.

Looking at the other retailers, there was Lowe's with a snowman or soldier for $54.99 a pop, prelit tree sculptures at $59.97 for the 7-foot size and 4-foot angels for $49.98.

Compare that with Sears Colormate down comforter at $79.99 and its New Traditions any size bed-in-a-bag at $59.99. And the list goes on.

The very unofficial Thanksgiving weekend tally seemed to be that the stuff on the lawns was the overwhelming winner. And that was just the kickoff weekend of the holiday shopping madness!

What's mom to do when she shops with the cranky kids who see a beaming Santa or a flickering angel in the supermarket? How can she not succumb to the glittering decorations as she's buying clothes and toys in whatever store?

From the looks of things, it seems that pushing just another comforter set or towel with a sale price that may or may not be a real value isn't going to cut it this holiday season.

Santa and his friends look like they're definitely going to be the winners.

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