How your department can strike a balance between the fall and
With just four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, most
retailers recognize that Christmas products have to debut before
the November feast if they’re to capture customer interest. But
could too much Christmas spirit too early turn customers away or
steal Halloween and Thanksgiving sales? The right timing is
important, so this month, Senior Editor Shelley Urban asked
three floral leaders: What is your schedule for displaying
holiday merchandise in your department?
We start planning in July, and in August, right after school
starts, we enlist local elementary school students to help us
complete [what will be part of] the store décor. We provide 10
schools with $25 each and ask them to make as many decorations
as they can with the money.
The day after Halloween, we start decorating the entire
store, which includes the school students’ work. We display each
school’s ornaments on a section of garland in the store with a
banner [emblazoned with] the school name above it. The
children’s art is always so creative and draws in their parents
and family members to see their work.
We have everything ready in time for our annual open house,
which we hold the second Friday in November. All of our
merchandise is on display, including samples of the fresh
centerpieces that we’ll be offering as well as some of our
poinsettias, to showcase them. The open house is our chance to
premier what we are offering for the season and because we have
a local poinsettia grower, who delivers three to four times a
week, we can begin putting poinsettias out early.
On the Friday before our Thanksgiving ad comes out, which
is about 10 days prior to Thanksgiving, we begin displaying a
mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas. On Thanksgiving weekend,
we put out all of our poinsettias, Christmas [cacti] and other
blooming plants. And then we add our fresh arrangements and
greenery, as well as holiday novelty items such as mini
decorative trees, two weeks prior to Christmas.
Sandi Probst, floral
Lin’s Marketplace; St. George, Utah
Many stores in the area put Christmas merchandise out early, but
we wait until right after Halloween. In early November, we begin
displaying nonperishable Christmas products, such as giftware,
decorations and ornaments.
By this time of the year, customers have had “fall” for a
few months already, so they’re ready to start getting into the
Christmas season. So, about two weeks before Thanksgiving, we
cut back on fall mums and start selling poinsettias in novelty
colors, such as pink, peach, white and burgundy, because our
customers are looking for table pieces that can cross over from
Thanksgiving to Christmas. We’ve also done very well with dyed
and tinted poinsettias in decorator colors, especially blue, for
the holidays. We usually do a few fresh Thanksgiving
centerpieces in red and white as well as fresh pine arrangements
with just pine cones but no flowers, so they can extend beyond
Right after Thanksgiving, we add red poinsettias and
traditional Christmas arrangements to our selections.
Patty Malloy, AIFD, floral
Gordy’s County Market; Eau Claire, Wis.
In July, we’ll create a small “preview” section to give
customers a little taste of Christmas, and we’ll leave that up
until early November. For the month of October, which is
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re going to create a
“pink Christmas” display, with silver trees and pink ornaments,
giftware and permanents. And for [October’s] Customer
Appreciation Day, which is the first Tuesday of the month, we’ll
have a special price on a Breast Cancer Awareness ornament.
In November, we start by displaying decorative items that
could be used for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and just
accessorized, with picks or other items, for each holiday. This
includes fresh greens for the table, accessorized with golds and
browns [that can transition to Christmas]. By the first week of
December, we add traditional reds and greens, and we have our
full assortment of Christmas merchandise on display.
Danielle O’Malley, floral
Blue Goose Supermarket; St. Charles, Ill.