The first day of fall is still days away, and many of us are still in our shorts and flip-flops, but the Christmas season is already underway.
Many retail stores across the country have already stocked their shelves and decorated their stores for Christmas. The push for holiday sales seems to start earlier with each passing year.
But more surprisingly, nearly 32 million Americans have already begun their holiday shopping, according to a recent poll by CreditCards.com.
And get this: Nearly 4.6 million Americans have already crossed the last gift off their holiday shopping list, the poll found. That's right -- it's only September, and their Christmas shopping is complete.
"We love to complain about stores putting up holiday displays earlier and earlier each year," said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. "But the truth is that millions of Americans start holiday shopping long before the first Christmas tree appears in a store."
The CreditCards.com poll found that parents are twice as likely to have already started Christmas shopping (20 percent) compared with adults without children (11 percent).
According to eMarketer, retail holiday sales are expected to jump 5.7 percent this year, with Americans spending nearly $886 billion on holiday-related purchases.
Early holiday shoppers said buying up holiday goodies now helps keep their stress levels down, and it's also a way for them save time and money because they have time to comparison shop for the best prices, according to CreditCards.com.
Melanie DeCarolis, a wine educator from Boston, told CreditCards.com that she starts shopping for the holidays in July and wraps it up in August.
"If I put shopping off until December, I have only two paychecks left for it," she explained. "This way I can spread the cost out and the financial burden isn't so onerous."
(For more ideas on easing the burden of the gift-giving season, read "How to Save $500 for Christmas Shopping.")
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