It doesn’t seem to matter that September is closer to Christmas in July than actual Christmas, or that back-to-school shopping has barely ended, or that Halloween and Thanksgiving shopping have barely begun. With retailers’ quest to continually expand the winter holiday shopping season, you’re bound to see stockings, ornaments, and outdoor Santa displays any day now—if they’re not there already—on the shelves of stores such as Costco, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Sears, Lowes, and Walmart.
Christmas merchandise arrived at Costco on the first of the month, and by the end of September, Sears, J.C. Penney, and Walmart will be among the other retailers that’ll be pushing holiday season goods, according to USA Today. There’s no mystery as to why retailers constantly yearn to stretch out the holiday shopping season: The longer the season, the more shoppers are likely to spend.
While many consumers (ahem, me!) are annoyed by the never-ending Christmas creep and don’t particularly like thinking about winter or shopping for winter gifts while still wearing shorts, there are indications that many others have a more-the-merrier attitude when it comes to Christmas shopping. In a National Retail Federation survey, 42% of female shoppers (37% of shoppers overall) said they would be doing some Christmas shopping before Halloween.
(MORE: Walmart Brings Back Layaway for the Winter Holiday Shopping Season)
But everybody works differently. By December 22 of last year, for instance, 20% of consumers hadn’t even begun shopping for Christmas. Another 12% had no plans to spend any money for the holidays whatsoever.
If the concept of Christmas shopping in September bothers you, bear in mind that retailers have a history of taking a conveniently flexible approach to times and dates. Last year, there were Black Friday sales before, during, and after Black Friday, and post-Christmas sales four days before Christmas Day. For this season, I’m expecting a cornucopia of jolly sales that make about as much sense as that.
(MORE: 10 U.S. Retailers Thriving During Tough Times)
Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.