Having only store aisles to base a guess on could make it difficult to tell offhand what month it is. As Halloween arrives, two other holidays near, and area stores are showcasing goods that go with each.

Pumpkins and turkeys and mangers – oh my.

Having only store aisles to base a guess on could make it difficult to tell offhand what month it is. As Halloween arrives, two other holidays near, and area stores are showcasing goods that go with each.

New River Pottery, for example, started putting out their Christmas decorations six weeks ago, according to Marsha Luckenbaugh.

The décor comes in gradually to the store, Luckenbaugh said, and she and the other employees there have been working to create themes for their 14-plus Christmas trees.

Halloween and fall decorations — the two go hand-in-hand — were put out in late August , she said.

At the front of the store, Stephen Patrick was working on a wreath that would go up on the wall next to dozens of others he’d made. Patrick has been making wreaths for 16 years and said the simple ones take just 15 minutes. The more detailed wreaths can take almost an hour. He and the other wreath makers begin early in the year to ensure they’re all done in time for customers to pick out their favorites.

It’s their customers New River Pottery is thinking of when they put out decorations way ahead of the holiday.

“They can buy little bits at a time and it’s not a major investment,” Luckenbaugh said, adding that by the time the holiday is here, the most popular items are already sold out.

Some say they love having an all-in-one holiday experience at the store.

Jaime Dorn, a Jacksonville resident, said she had a lightbulb moment when she realized she could buy all of her holiday flags in one swoop.

“I don’t have a lot of time to shop for stuff like that so when I do I want to make it count,” Dorn said.
Others aren’t as thrilled with non-seasonal selections lining shelves and racks.

Richlands resident Brandy Diana said she was frustrated because she needs to wait and buy costumes and winter coats until her daughter needs it. Winter coats are in stores now, but her daughter likely won’t need one until January, she said, and she may grow into a different size by that time. By then, everything is gone.

Lisa McLane, of Jacksonville, said having Christmas in stores in October is nuts. Everyone should slow down and enjoy one holiday at a time, she said. It gets to the point that she doesn’t even want to go into stores anymore.

And it’s not just the stores.

Surf City already has up some of their Christmas decorations around town, something that many seem to enjoy, said Town Manager Larry Bergman.

“I even occasionally get people requesting particular Christmas light shapes near their homes,” he said.

This year the town is short staffed and because of Hurricane Matthew, the town wants to ensure the electrical connections are in good shape, he said, which takes time to do safely.

“There are some that get frustrated seeing holiday decorations going up early, but it is a tradition the town began and it’s a good way to demonstrate that we are a year-round community for residents, businesses and visitors,” Bergman said.

It’s true in Jacksonville as well, and Luckenbaugh said one lady, an 85-year-old who lives on U.S. 17 and goes all-out for Christmas, has already been to New River Pottery and bought nearly every outdoor decoration they sell.

“I think there is something for everyone,” Luckenbaugh said. “Except maybe the Scrooges.”