Your eyes aren't playing trick on you, even though it's only September. Christmas displays are already going up at stores throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Shoppers say it's happening earlier and earlier, and on one hand, it's probably a distraction from all the politics -- but what do people think?
When we asked people about that, they rolled their eyes upward and groaned and gave us a look, like 'really'?
Friday was, after all, the last day of summer. But others told us they welcome it and try to prep for the holiday all year long. That way, they're not slammed financially when Christmas finally gets here.
Ever get the feeling Christmas is right there, ready to knock you down in some big box stores?
"Yeah, that can be a little shocking, when you have a skeleton next to a Christmas tree," said Steve Leo, of Oldsmar.
"You go in and Christmas is thrust upon you whether you want it or not, you turn the corner and bam! there it is!," said Robert Frank, who owns Robert's Christmas Wonderland in Clearwater.
It's a phenomenon called, the Christmas creep. Is September too early to start creeping?
"No! Not at all! Nah!," said Devontae King and Marquis Lasing, who both work at Home Depot on Dale Mabry in Tampa.
Holiday sales, shopping and the decorations show up earlier and earlier each year.
"To be honest, I don't really go Christmas shopping," said Lasing. "Really?," we asked. "No," he said. "Only for my girl."
"Well, you can start planning early, spread out the expenses and get some ideas for how you wanna decorate, that's sorta what we do," said Leo.
It used to be retailers waited til, "Black Friday", to go whole hog, but Summer's barely over and here it is!
"Actually do a lot of Christmas shopping because sales are going on during the summer, so I like to save," said King.
"Nah! It's never too early for Christmas!," said Frank with a big smile.
We couldn't get into a Wal-Mart to show you, but already in many bay-area stores, trees are up and carols are playing.
"Christmas is always the same, but it always has to change," said Frank.
At Robert's Christmas Wonderland in Clearwater, it doesn't even have to be Christmas to have a holiday-themed tree. There's Halloween and right after that, you'll need your red, white and blue election tree, complete with candidates, donkeys and elephants on it.
"And when we had the convention, you can imagine what sold faster," said Frank.
"Like leopards, and lions and all that," said Isabella Leo, who wants a tree loaded with all sorts of big cats and animals. There's a safari tree there for that.
"Pink is one of the hot colors this year," said Frank. So are red, green, blue, and orange. "People like something a little bit different, I like that color and I'm not afraid to put it up."
Target managers told us, they're still trying to move out back to school stuff, they won't even think of Christmas, until the week before Halloween. Same for Home Depot, where we found lots of Halloween and Fall stuff like pumpkins and corn stalks, but no red and green anything.
So, really, when's too early again?
"The 26th of December is a little early," laughed Frank. "The 27th, starts getting ready again."
Keep in mind, you've only got 94 days left, to get into the Christmas spirit!
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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