Christmas comes to Tesco: 100 days early

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Christmas shelves

The shelves at Britain's biggest supermarket are groaning under the weight of mince pies, chocolate snowmen, and festive selection packs. Meanwhile, the Tesco website is busy counting down the number of 'sleeps' until Christmas.

So why has Christmas come so early?

The first goodies actually started appearing in aisles at the end of August. But while we were reporting the appearance of the odd tin of chocolate at that point, now there are whole aisles devoted to the festive season.

The marketing machine has also sprung into action. At the weekend Tesco Clubcard tweeted "‪#Xfactor‬ is back on which means the run up to Christmas has already begun! Get collecting Clubcard points now..."

The response has been mostly shock and amusement. Astonished shoppers have posted pictures of the festive aisles on Twitter. @SarahBlatchie said: "I'm speechless. Christmas things are genuinely on sale in Tesco. It's really happening." @alan_roberts9 added: "If you haven't got your Christmas presents yet don't worry - Tesco still have some stock left."

So why has Christmas come so early?

Many of the people posting on Twitter say that they have never seen such an early start to the festive season, but we all have pretty short memories about this. Last year Christmas started in some Tesco stores on 29 August, and across the country from the beginning of September.

At the time Tesco said: "We often have some limited early seasonal products in store, as that allows our customers to stock up when they choose, and manage their spending over time. Our customers appreciate having that choice." This year they are recycling the same line.

We pointed out last September that this is pretty much par for the course. The supermarkets get in early - drip feeding the festivities throughout September and October - and by November, you can't move on the high street for tinsel and fake snow.

Response

It seems that the 100 Days of Christmas is becoming a feature of the high street. We just need to make sure we react in the way that works best for us.

The first option is to do as the supermarkets suggest, and use the opportunity to spread the cost. We can stock up on stocking fillers with our September pay cheque - and give ourselves more wiggle-room in the months to come.

However, this is only an option for those with an iron will. For every canny shopper who puts things aside and spreads the cost, there are ten more who find themselves guiltily tucking in a couple of weeks down the line, and end up buying the Christmas chocolates twice, or even three times as a result.

If you just have a normal amount of willpower, you may be better off going for the second option: ignore it, dodge past the aisles, block your ears to the festive songs, and keep your head down until you're ready for the onslaught.

Of course, once the whole thing is over - some time around the beginning of January - you'll have to start dodging the festive aisle again, or you'll have to deal with the arrival of Easter Eggs before most have us have put the tinsel back in the loft.

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