Claus & Effect

ONLY 117 SHOPPING DAYS If it seems Christmas comes sooner every year, blame retailers. According to our Dancing Santa Index--the date on which the stores put out the mechanized Yuletide trinket--the country is suffering from Christmas creep. Mind you, it's consumers' fault too; Hallmark Cards says sales at its Holiday Ornament Premier (in July) were up 44% from 1998.


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