How long will it be before you see mass mounds of Christmas products in stores? The common complaint is that it gets earlier and earlier every year.
This year seems to be setting a new standard. Kmart and Sears — that merged entity of retailing mediocrity — has already launched their Christmas Lane, an online offering of all things Christmas we’re sure to see in their stores in the coming months.
The move has garnered lots of publicity — but it is doubtful that sales have spiked as a result.
Hallmark seems to get a pass on the criticism about early Christmas in stores. Every year during the second weekend in July they hold a much anticipated sales event to kick off their collectible ornament offerings.
Despite the criticism, there is good reason for retailers to bet on Christmas sales during the heat of summer. Die-hard fanatics have reported on Christmas communities online of product widely available on shelves of some Hobby Lobby and Michael’s locations.
For anyone portraying Santa Claus â€“ especially in a â€œprofessional capacityâ€ â€“ you better watch out! Defending Santa.com, a web site dedicated to restoring honor, dignity and respect to the person of Santa Claus, has recently highlighted the poor judgment of a group of professional Santas who visited a brothel museum while appearing â€œin uniformâ€ as Santa Claus. Outraged parents, hiring managers and other professional Santas have since flooded the site with concerns.
â€œSanta Claus is a legendary gift-bringer with a sterling reputation for anonymously doing good. Children and adults the world over adore Santa Claus,â€ explains Jeff Westover, President of Merry Network LLC, publisher of Defending Santa.com. â€œAs parents, we too are very concerned that any man dressed as Santa Claus would visit an institution associated with the image of prostitution. To pose with employees dressed in period costumes and to broadcast that image through the media is disappointing and irresponsible.â€
For more than eight years, Defending Santa.com has highlighted the mostly good works from the professional Santa community. â€œTelling the modern story of Santa is an important part of restoring his legacy,â€ Westover notes. â€œMany good men study the history and habits of Saint Nicholas and work quietly within their communities to serve children and charities. They devote endless hours, absorb costs of costuming and transportation, all to help provide happiness and good cheer. But there are some who claim to be â€˜professionalâ€™ Santas who only seek to glorify themselves through regular media attention. Some have built empires of for-profit enterprises all by exploiting their physical resemblance to Santa.â€
â€œThe Santa Claus industry is evolving in adopting better standards of behavior,â€ says Michael Rielly, founder of ClausNet.com, the largest online community of amateur and professional Santa and Mrs. Claus and also an affiliate of Merry Network LLC. â€œA professional Santa these days can come from just about any background and from just about any location. Our mission is to educate and inspire those who wear the red suit to a higher standard. We applaud and support the efforts of Defending Santa.com in their mission to restore the good name of Santa.â€
The iconic holiday movie “A Christmas Story” has legions of fans and enjoys cult status as replays of the film cover the airways each holiday season. But what of those in the film? Whatever became of those child actors? Scott Schwartz, who played the poor flagpole licker in the film, recently talked about his not-so-storied acting career.
His wild post-Christmas Story career is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Click here to read the sordid details that could forever change your perception of him.