There is something interesting that happens shortly after Halloween in the United States. It is the time when we honor military veterans who have risked their lives.
Although it is a day in which many people honor those brave men and women, some people choose to overlook the holiday and begin their preparations for Christmas instead.
Nobody is saying that there is anything wrong with decorating for Christmas. People around the world put up wreaths, a Christmas tree, and garland but if you do so too early, it may be seen as a form of disrespect.
One store in Canada feels very strongly on the subject and they have banned all holiday decor until after November 11.
Big Way Foods is located in St-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba, a small village. Even though they are from a humble area, the decision they made has rippled out to affect thousands. The shelves in their store will remain bare until after the Canadian holiday, Remembrance Day is over.
They opted to put a sign on the empty shelves that says: ‘Lest we Forget’. The store manager, Ginette Maynard had the following to say to the news: “We want to respect our veterans. I think it’s very important. I mean some of [these veterans] gave their lives for us, they went to war for our country and for ourselves, you know.”
This has become somewhat of a tradition that started in 2015. One of the store employees has a grandfather who fought in World War II and he made the suggestion. The manager admits that Christmas is an important holiday but it should not overshadow celebrating our veterans.
Many customers agree with the stand that Big Way Foods is taking and are happy with their decision to hold back on Christmas until after November 11.
Some shoppers are so happy with the idea that they have brought in pictures of their loved ones who served in the military. Those pictures are put on the shelves that have remained empty.
“People [have] started bringing in their stories,” Maynard explained… “They have pictures of … their uncles and their grandparents and their parents themselves you know, and they have stories behind it and it’s pretty interesting.”
Once this story hit social media, many people were agreeing with the decision that they made.
One popular Facebook page said: “The reason you can all celebrate Christmas and have your freedom is because of veterans and our current service members. Think about families whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice and are not sitting with them at the Christmas dinner table so that you could enjoy yours. Plus six weeks of Christmas stuff is enough.”
Other Facebook users also had something to say:
“I totally agree with this. I hope more stores start doing this. By the time it’s actually Christmas, I’m sick of it. There’s no reason they can’t wait until after Remembrance Day.”
“I think what really bugs me is that retailers are pushing each season earlier and earlier. Like ‘back to school’ the second week of July. Halloween before Sept 1st and Christmas as early as Thanksgiving.”
“Whether we wait until after Nov 11 to decorate for Christmas is personal. Taking sometime on that day to reflect the sacrifice of so many and if possible thank a veteran you know would go a long way.”
There were also those who disagreed, not because of the issue with veterans but because of their own needs.
Some stores have followed suit and decided to wait until November 11 has passed before they will start selling Christmas products. Others don’t see a problem putting them out as soon as Halloween has passed.
Karen Sorochan is the manager of Ten Thousand Villages Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and she also has an opinion on the matter. She doesn’t feel that it is disrespectful to put out festive items before Remembrance Day takes place.
She said: “I would like to see more attention paid to Remembrance Day. I think that is falling off. But I don’t think Christmas and Christmas decorations are drawing away from that.”
“I need to be all ready by Remembrance Day, because once Remembrance Day is done, then people are more apt to come in and buy and when I’m getting more and more customers I don’t have time to get out the Christmas.”
“We don’t want to be left in the dust. We have to keep up with the Walmarts, some of the Targets and Canadian Tire.”
Brian Cowie is another shop owner who will be putting his Christmas products out earlier. He owns an electronics store in Carnduff, Saskatchewan.
He wrote an open letter to Brett Wilson, a former Dragon’s Den cast member and staunch early Christmas decoration opponent, Cowie wrote, “It is important to follow consumer demands and public opinion in order to remain relevant and competitive.”
He also said that he didn’t arrive at the decision without a lot of thought. He finds it important to stay competitive with other stores and online shopping.