Christmas hits the shops in August


Victoria Pendleton's bike range

Brace yourself, because as the 'Back to School' displays start to come down, we are seeing the first of the Christmas goods in the shops and supermarkets. There are now 17 weeks until Christmas - and we can expect the hard-sell to crank up a gear with each passing week.

But is this such a bad thing.

Christmas in August

Christmas seems to be everywhere already. Asda has already launched its online Christmas shop, and has started putting out the first of the festive ranges in some stores. Tesco has also begun rolling out the first of its chocolates and biscuits. We know that the supermarkets start to buy them in July - and they run festive showcases for the press to reveal what they have up their sleeves. However, they're particularly eager to get them out this year.

Meanwhile the wholesale chain Costco already has its Christmas ranges on the floors - so smaller shops should follow suit shortly. And more specialist retailers have started plugging their festive ranges too - including Halfords which aired Victoria Pendleton's bike range for girls in July (pictured).

There are those who say this is just fundamentally wrong. When The White Hart Hotel in St Austell tweeted today about booking for Christmas, ‏@MichaelGShryane responded: "it isn't even September! ‪#humbug‬". ‏@scaryduck tweeted: "August 28th 2013: A day that shall live in infamy. The pub round the corner has a sign up in the car park for Christmas parties ‪#Humbug‬". And @ABSOLUTEJEANIUS said: "‪#Christmas‬ is trending. ‪#humbug‬."

Money worries

There are sound financial concerns too. When we have longer to plan the festivities, there's an escalation of expectation. We are bombarded with messages about the importance of buying things for the big day for months. Each time you see a Christmas advert, walk past the tins piled high in the supermarkets, or pass the grottos on every corner, you get the message that Christmas is vitally important, and you cannot celebrate properly without buying something else.

And for every person who shops wisely, taking advantage of the summer sales to grab a bargain, and spread the cost of the festive season, there are ten people who just spend more. There's a very good reason why the mince pies that first hit the shops have a best before date before Christmas Day - we all know that they will be consumed in a matter of days and we'll be back for more.

Of course, there's a flip side. There are plenty of people who seem delighted at the early onset of Christmas. Christina Ricci has been tweeting: "I know everyone's sad about summer being over, but I'm really excited about Christmas." Leona Lewis has tweeted a picture of herself in a festive jumper recording a festive track. And Stephen Fry first tweeted his Merry Christmas message in May (when he recorded the QI Christmas Special).

So what do you think?

Supermarket champagne taste test

Supermarket champagne taste test