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If you head into Canadian Tire in search of something to wear to this weekend's Halloween party, you might be hard-pressed to find a Darth Vader outfit. Planning to go as Santa, though? You may be in luck.

Is it too early to say it's too early to think about Christmas?

Before they've cleared out their electric jack-o-lanterns, several Canadian Tire outlets have alreadyset out the NOMA 7-foot trees and the Debbie Travis sequined ornaments.

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The phenomenon dubbed "Christmas Creep" is in full effect, two months beforethe actual holiday. Last week, a table of holiday cards was spotted at Indigo, while some aisles at Zellers were filled with tree trimmings.

Tony Laguardia, associate vice-president of seasonal for Canadian Tire, says the company-wide goal is to set up displays by the first week of November (though some outlets jumped the gun).

"We really do want consumers to go through the steps of the harvest season and the Halloween season," he says.

As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, retailers who had taken a stand against Christmas Creep have adopted an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude. In 2007, upscale department chain Nordstrom posted a sign in its store windows that said, "We won't be decking our halls until Friday, November 23rd. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time" – a reference to American Thanksgiving.

But last week, the Post-Intelligencer spotted a suspiciously holiday-themed window display with text that said, "Mingle before you jingle." Nordstrom told the paper the display is tied to the "party season." Right.

Yet there are always eager consumers. If the last two weeks worth of Twitter pleas for holiday drinks are any measure, Starbucks customers don't need snow on the ground to appreciate their gingerbread and eggnog lattes (which won't be out till Nov. 2, according to the company).



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