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Store Bans Christmas Decorations Until After Respect Is Paid To Troops

CBC News

In the United States, the day after Halloween typically symbolizes it's time we put on your poppy and honor the military veterans who have risked their lives for our freedom.

Although it's only right to give these brave men and women the recognition they deserve, some people choose to overlook the public holiday, and make the decision to prep for Christmas instead.

While there's nothing wrong with decorating your home with a Christmas tree, wreaths, and garland, doing so too prematurely can be seen as a sign of major disrespect.

This sentiment is shared by one store in Canada, who has banned all holiday decor until November 11 is over.

"We want to respect our veterans."

Located in the small village of St-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba, staff at Bigway Foods had made the decision to keep their shelves bare until Remembrance Day (the holiday in Canada) has passed.

In its place hangs a sign which states, "Lest We Forget."

"We want to respect our veterans," store manager Ginette Maynard told CBC News.

"I think it's very important. I mean some of [these veterans] gave their lives for us, they went to war for our country and for ourselves, you know."

Ginette Maynard
Ginette Maynard is the store manager at Bigway Foods.CBC News

The idea, which was first put in place in 2015, was suggested by one of the store's employees, whose grandfather fought in the Second World. She said that while Christmas is an important holiday, it shouldn't take away from celebrating our veterans.

Customers seem to agree with Bigway Foods and have applauded their decision to hold back on selling any Christmas-related products.

Some shoppers have been so keen on the idea, and have even brought photos of their loved ones who were in the military to hang on the empty shelves in its place.

"People [have] started bringing in their stories," Maynard explained.. "They have pictures of ... their uncles and their grandparents and their parents themselves you know, and they have stories behind it and it's pretty interesting."

"There's no reason they can't wait until after Remembrance Day."

When social media users heard about the store's choice to postpone the sale of its Christmas decorations, the majority of people agreed with its decision.

"The reason you can all celebrate Christmas and have your freedom is because of veterans and our current service members," Lisa Gingras wrote on Global News' Facebook page.

"Think about families whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice and are not sitting with them at the Christmas dinner table so that you could enjoy yours. Plus six weeks of Christmas stuff is enough."

Veterans Day parade in Biloxi, Mississippi.
The 2014 Veterans Day parade in Biloxi, Mississippi.U.S. Air Force/Kemberly Groue

"I totally agree with this. I hope more stores start doing this. By the time it's actually Christmas, I'm sick of it. There's no reason they can't wait until after Remembrance Day," Tanya Kutcher chimed in.

Ruth Saunders added, "I think what really bugs me is that retailers are pushing each season earlier and earlier. Like 'back to school' the second week of July. Halloween before Sept 1st and Christmas as early as Thanksgiving."

"Whether we wait until after Nov 11 to decorate for Christmas is personal. Taking sometime on that day to reflect the sacrifice of so many and if possible thank a veteran you know would go a long way."

However, not everyone feels the same way when it comes to prematurely decorating for Christmas.

"We don't want to be left in the dust."

Although some stores have chosen to wait until November 11 is over to sell their Christmas products, others don't see a problem with having them out as soon as Halloween comes to a close.

Karen Sorochan is the manager of Ten Thousand Villages Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and said she doesn't find it disrespectful that businesses put their festive items on the shelves before Remembrance Day rolls around.

"I would like to see more attention paid to Remembrance Day," Sorochan told CBC News. "I think that is falling off. But I don't think Christmas and Christmas decorations are drawing away from that."

"I need to be all ready by Remembrance Day, because once Remembrance Day is done, then people are more apt to come in and buy and when I'm getting more and more customers I don't have time to get out the Christmas."

"We don't want to be left in the dust. We have to keep up with the Walmarts, some of the Targets and Canadian Tire."

Brian Cowie owns an electronics store in Carnduff, Saskatchewan and said he too would be putting his Christmas products out early.  

In an open letter to Brett Wilson, a former Dragon's Den cast member and staunch early Christmas decoration opponent, Cowie wrote, "it is important to follow consumer demands and public opinion in order to remain relevant and competitive."

He added that while he didn't make the decision lightly, he needs to stay competitive with online shopping and other popular stores.

[H/T: CBC News, Global News]

Do you think other stores should follow Bigway Foods' lead? Let us know in the comments!

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