Christmas may still be more than 12 weeks away but shoppers and retailers are already getting ready for the festivities.
Here, we talk about the pros and cons of discussing the festive season before September is even out.
FOR - Jackie Mulligan, founder of web platform ShopAppy
“You can understand businesses wanting to make the most out of the peak shopping season.
“For small businesses especially, this period will see them through the rest of the year so you can understand them stepping up their marketing efforts to get more customers in.
“Online competition is fiercer than ever before and this has made it harder than ever for retailers.
“For customers, this is a positive thing too as it gives you time to think about all the options so you can become more organised. “You feel very smug if all your shopping is sorted and then you can just enjoy the season.
“Having that ability to buy early can be good for families that are planning what and how much they are going to spend.
“You’ve got time to do research but the challenge can be that one big toy will suddenly emerge as the toy to get. It may only come out in the last month however that’s the reality of what people suddenly want.
“This period, with Halloween and Bonfire Night and obviously Christmas, is often regarded by retailers as the ‘golden triangle’.
“This year, more than ever, people need to think about shopping locally because we will see more and more going down if we don’t support bricks and mortar.”
AGAINST - Rowan Morton-Gledhill, Press Secretary to the Bishop of Leeds
“My Catholic perspective on the ‘Christmas versus commerce’ debate is that Christ’s Birthday Feast should be a celebration, full of the joy of giving and receiving.
“So, to keep the season sacred, I do agree with getting the commercial aspects out of the way early – especially if the small businesses which benefit have a family ethos in our local communities.
“Advent is the time for our Christmas preparations: spiritual as well as shop-bought.
“By making our purchases now, the season may find us cash-poor - but richer in that more precious commodity: time.
“How liberating in those four weeks of Advent, which can be frantic, if the time that is usually spent on retail could be filled with reflection!
“A peaceful, prayerful time to spend with family and friends, to make amends, to tell loved ones how much they mean, to notice the lonely and to help those in need.
“Time to be open to accepting the one free gift we all get, whether we’ve been ‘naughty or nice’: the gift of God’s love.”