Putting off Christmas store decorations until after Remembrance Day urged

Remembrance Day vs. Christmas displays: Should stores hold off on holiday promotions?

It’s beginning to look too much like Christmas for some Canadians.

As images of wreaths and holly start sprouting up the day after Halloween, there is a growing movement to urge retailers to hold off on their holiday decorations until after Remembrance Day.

The sound is being amplified on social media, where #RespectOurVeterans has become the battle cry for Canadians fed up with the commercialization of Christmas.

“We encourage businesses to refrain from Christmas marketing until after Remembrance Day,” the Strathmore and District Chamber of Commerce (Alberta) posted on Twitter and Facebook.

The Good Earth Coffeehouse, with 40 locations in four provinces, is not following the lead of larger competitors like Starbucks and Second Cup, both of which started using Christmas cups on Nov. 1.

“We will continue our tradition of waiting until after Nov 11th to launch our holiday campaign,” the chain said on Twitter.

And the Bigway grocery store in St. Pierre-Jolys, Man., has left some of its shelves empty save for a “Lest we forget” sign tacked up with poppy pins, as a tribute to the veterans.

“We think it’s important to remember our veterans who gave their lives,” store manager Ginette Maynard told Global News.

If there is a common thread, besides the reluctance to start marketing for Christmas in early November, it’s that all are smaller businesses. The big-box chains, as many have noted, are usually the big offenders.

Swiss Chalet took some heat after it began promoting its Festive Special on Monday.

“Advertising this before Remembrance Day means I’ll purposely avoid it,” a Twitter user responded.

“Shame on you Swiss Chalet for bringing this out so early. Wait until after Remembrance Day to start celebrating Christmas,” another wrote.

Indigo’s Holiday Book Shop is open online, and holiday gifts cover display tables in stores. The chain put out its top 10 list of kids’ books and toys for the holiday season on Oct. 28.

The Bay, Dollarama and Winners have all gone into Christmas mode, either in store or online or both.

None of the major retailers contacted by Yahoo Canada News was immediately available for comment.

The president of the Ontario Psychological Association weighed in on the debate.

“Many will soon put up their Christmas lights to beat the snow. Respect our Veterans: leave ‘em off until after #RemembranceDay. Pls retweet,” wrote Dr. Jonathan Douglas.

But one of the most high-profile opponents of too-early Christmas decor is Alberta financier and former “Dragons’ Den” panelist W. Brett Wilson. His comment — “Reminder to retailers — pls don’t even think of #XmasDecor until Nov 12. #GrumpyCat says #RespectOurVeterans” — got him into a Twitter battle with some who felt he was using the cause to promote himself.

After Wilson’s tweet was shared widely Tuesday and Wednesday, a few users pointed out that Canadians could both honour veterans and look forward to Christmas at the same time. Others said a better way to honour veterans would be to provide better government funding and support for them.

Yahoo Canada News has reached out to the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian Veterans Advocacy and True Patriot Love for comment.

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