Why Valentine's Day begins on December 26th

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I’m home for the holidays and one of the best parts of being in the suburbs is indulging in a trip to Target or Walmart.

Unlike NYC, here there are spacious aisles and free parking. No free shopping bags though, and plastic bags are out of the question of course. California was the first state to ban them earlier this year.

I hadn’t done much shopping while settling into NY, so being in a full-on consumer space was a bit of a culture shock. I had forgotten what rows and rows of similar-looking products looked like. I’ll post more on this later.

One thing that caught me off guard was the card aisle which had prime store real estate.

It’s December 26, the day after Christmas, and the Valentine’s Day cards are already on display. The Christmas cards were scooted over to 1/10 of the row, with the rest of the aisle blazing with pink and red hearts.

Really? I know marketing for Christmas happens earlier and earlier each year, and it essentially starts the day after Thanksgiving now. I’m sure brands must be a little bummed that Thanksgiving is a hard date, otherwise the Christmas rush would start the minute Halloween ended.

It’s interesting how every inch of a retail space is optimized to get consumers to buy. From the candy at the cash wrap, to end cap promotions with Dove and Listerine on sale this week, to display tables with a rainbow assortment of t-shirts to attract your eyes - a store layout is designed with a purpose.

The thing is, when you’re physically in this store environment, it all feels normal. It seems normal to feel like you’re already late for Christmas prep when you’re cleaning up the plates for Thanksgiving.

When it’s December and you see cards for a holiday in February, it’s almost like all of January isn’t even there.

It’s definitely fun to look forward to holidays and other events because they punctuate our lives and are distinct markings of time passing as the year goes on.

But sometimes it feels like there’s no chance to take a break. There’s always something else you should prepare for or buy.

UncategorizedWes Kao