The Halloween witches have barely stopped their shrieking and already the sounds of sleigh bells can be heard across the country as the nation’s retailers deck their halls ahead of the most wonderful – or at least the most lucrative – time of the year.
It was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas on Dublin’s Grafton Street yesterday afternoon when the angelic boys of the Palestrina Choir gathered to herald the birth of the Christmas window at Brown Thomas’s flagship store.
There wasn't a Santa or a snowman in sight, however, as the display was unveiled and the tasteful window dressings celebrate instead the world of theatre with eight different scenes from dressing room dramas to the final curtain.
And the Christmas spirit is also falling over the Dublin suburbs. Santa Claus arrives at Dundrum Town Centre today, seven weeks ahead of the big day.
Another sure sign that Christmas is coming is the arrival of the annual Christmas spending survey from Deloitte. In its 12th year, the survey predicts that Irish consumers will once again spend more than their European counterparts this festive season.
For the fourth year in a row people have told pollsters they plan to curtail spending, although not by as much as previous years.
According to the survey, we will spend 1.7 per cent less this Christmas than last Christmas. In 2011 spending fell by 7.44 per cent, while a year earlier 10.6 per cent was shaved off the festive spend. The poll shows that the average spend per household will be €894, with an average of €484.81 going on gifts, €258.84 on food and €150.76 on going out.
The survey also shows that 47 per cent of people will have their Christmas shopping done and dusted before the start of December while a further third will have their gift shopping completed with 10 days to spare, leaving one in five of us to panic-buy at the death.
In news that will come as a surprise to no one, women are most likely to buy earlier, with 38 per cent saying they will have their shopping done November.
The top three gifts most likely to be bought are books, vouchers and cosmetics or perfumes, with the average value of a gift voucher purchased this festive season put at €38.