Target said it would hold off on big Christmas advertising, but mailed out these flyers

People are getting toy catalogs and seeing lights in stores. So what gives?
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Target promised to chill out on its routine of marketing the heck out of Christmas as soon as Halloween ended.

As part of holiday plans laid out this week, Chief Marketing Officer Rick Gomez told The Associated Press customers wanted Target to "pause, and be really intentional and recognize Thanksgiving. ... What they don't want us to do is go right into Christmas. So, we are going to respect that."

Said a spokesperson to GoMN: "We’ve heard from our guests that they want us to celebrate Thanksgiving before moving into the holidays."

Except, apparently, when it comes to mailing people things.

After we posted our story, a handful of readers tweeted us with this:

"It's a toy ad for the holidays with a coupon on the back for a $10 gift card if you spend $50 on toys," Shauna Ritter, who got the flyer at her Minneapolis home, told GoMN.

Micki from Minnetonka (whose tweet is above) said it looks geared toward "making a Christmas wish list," with "pages filled with toys."

Which sure seems a lot like Christmas advertising.

Plus, it's not like Christmas is absent from stores altogether.

"Except the target in NE had Christmas lights next to the Halloween stuff already..." Shauna Ritter replied.

Another spotted Christmas sweaters and signage at a location in California, and this tweeter said they saw products out in southern California – lights and yard decorations.

OK, so this seems like Christmas promotion – what's the deal?

If Target is already mailing ads and putting holiday items out for sale, what exactly does the promise to slow the "Christmas creep" entail?

According to the Target spokesperson, a lot of it is based around signage. This year, the retailer will "wait to feature holiday signing at the front entrances of our stores until after Thanksgiving," she told GoMN. 

Related:

Target will offer free shipping, lots of weekend deals this holiday season

One Redditor says Thanksgiving signs will be going up at the front next week (after Halloween), and Christmas ones won't replace them until December.

That doesn't mean there won't be any holiday merch or signs elsewhere. Most of that will start going up in early November, which is "consistent" with previous years, the spokesperson said. 

And obviously some of it is already starting to get out, as those Twitter users noted. Employees on the /r/Target subreddit have been discussing this, musing about the emergence of Christmas lights already. (One commenter argues there's a good reason – a lot of people in wintry climates like to get their lights up before it gets really cold.)

So what about the flyers?

Target just began distributing its toy catalog, the spokesperson said, and shoppers will get it mailed directly to them. It's the same way they've done it, and at about the same time, as previous years, she added.

Online of course, there's a Christmas section up and running. But there's no mention of it on the Target.com home page, and either way, that's a little different from having it shoved in your face when you walk into a store.

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