THERE has barely been enough time to dust the sand off flip-flops or pack away sun cream after the summer holidays.
But with 128 shopping days until Santa comes to town, Dobbies garden centres in Livingston and Lasswade have set up festive shops complete with Rudolph slippers, baubles and wrapping paper.
It’s still summer holiday time for many people and the last thing we need to be reminded of is ChristmasSusan Smart
Retail bosses have denied Dobbies is gearing up for Christmas too early, insisting instead that it is only a “showcase” of items that will be on sale nationwide after next month’s big Christmas launch.
But some shoppers have been left stunned by the August display of festive merriment.
Susan Smart, from Penicuik, wrote to the Evening News after visiting Dobbies to urge retailers to wait at least until October before starting the Christmas build-up.
She said: “I went to Dobbies for a wander around and I was shocked to see they have started to install their Christmas shop.
“It’s August, still summer holiday time for many people and the last thing we need to be reminded of is Christmas.
“Can you imagine what it will be like for those parents and grandparents who take their kids there to eat and have to walk past all the Christmas displays?
“Please hold back on the Christmas theme until we are at least into the winter weather.
“October is soon enough and at least we wouldn’t be sick of it all before the big day actually arrives.”
But Chris Smyth, owner of Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe on the Royal Mile, defended Dobbies’ decision.
He said: “They get Christmas stock sent out by the suppliers around August and it takes up a whole lot of room. They have to put it somewhere so they might as well put it out.
“Some other major stores have started their Christmas advertising in early September for the last 25 years.
“It’s always been like that and if you don’t like it, you can always walk past it.
“You are always going to get malcontents who don’t want anything Christmassy until December but a lot of people like to start their Christmas shopping early.”
In July of last year, a 5ft Santa Claus was fixed to the Maybury Casino urging office parties to “book now for Christmas”.
A spokeswoman for the garden centre chain described the displays as a “showcase” and said they weren’t being set up in all of the company’s 34 stores nationwide.
She added: “Our Christmas shop at Dobbies is months in the making behind-the-scenes. However, our full Christmas range won’t be available in our stores until later in the year.
“For those who want to see the range early, Livingston has been chosen as our UK Christmas showcase store and will help our other garden centres throughout the UK replicate a magical Christmas experience later in the year.”
Letters – Page 14