It's Christmastime! Can't you hear the music?
As I wander through retail stores for my various shopping needs, I notice that the standard rotation of acceptable pop music jams has been updated to include holiday music. And not just any holiday. It's Christmas!
I know some people will say, "Christmas music now? It shouldn't start until after Thanksgiving." And to those people I say, "Bah, humbug!" It's never too early for Christmas. Especially if your bottom line depends on it.
Jesus may be the reason for the season, but we celebrate by giving gifts to each other. And nine times out of 10, those gifts are bought at stores.
Maybe it's the hustler in me, but I know the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve are crucial to the bottom line in the retail world. This short period of time can make or break a year. According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday season can represent as much as 40 percent of annual sales for some retailers.
Stores need to get bodies through the doors. They are opening earlier and closing later, and some are not closing at all. We have seen Black Friday start at 6 a.m., then 4 a.m., then midnight, and now it no longer exists because this year some stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Why? Because in 2012 alone, holiday sales represented 19.3 percent of total retail industry sales.
I repeat, stores need to get bodies through the doors. Store managers who have mastered retail zen and understand the fundamental precept of "train the mind and the body will follow" began training the mind last week ... with Christmas music.
Whether it is Elvis singing "Blue Christmas," Bruce Hornsby crooning "Lost in the Snow" or Wham! belting out "Last Christmas," when you hear it, you know that time is upon us. You begin to think about what Dad wants, what little Keisha needs and what to get the boo this year. While you verbalize your disgust for the early arrival of Christmas music, you silently wish you were part of the 40 percent who started their shopping before Halloween.
Personally, I love Christmas music. For 60-plus days, I get a reprieve from twerking, jerking, booty-shaking, murderous, cheesy romance music and am engulfed in tunes about joy, sharing, caring, peace on Earth and good will toward man.
My only complaint with the holiday jams is that I wish there were more original Christmas songs. But with Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, Jewel, Tamar Braxton and Bad Religion all dropping Christmas collections this season, I'm sure to find an original jam I like. If not, I can always rely on the Rat Pack and Mariah Carey. All she wants for Christmas is me.
Yusef Williams is a RedEye special contributor.
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