Break's Over, Santa: Ticketmaster Kicks Off Christmas Season in May

the Rockettes

For years, Grinches of assorted stripes have complained that the Christmas season has been inching its way backward through the calendar. Once upon a time, Christmas was barely visible before Dec. 1, when retailers would roll out the holly and wrapping paper. Then, it started swiping more territory, working its way back past Thanksgiving and into the middle days of November. Now, Halloween barely ends before the back rows at Target start filling with lights and ornaments, tinsel and tree toppers. Like it or not, Christmas is slowly sneaking up on you, gobbling up more and more of the year and reminding you ever earlier that you need to start worrying about wearing ugly sweaters and finding the perfect gift for Mom.

This year, though, it's not the usual suspects like Target and Walmart leading the charge to speed up the holiday calendar. Instead, the first Christmas culprit of 2013 is Ticketmaster, which seems to have decided that 2013's holiday season will begin not in November, October nor even September. No, this year, Ticketmaster is starting the clock in May, more than seven months before C-Day.

That's right: We're still closer to Christmas 2012 than to Christmas 2013, but Ticketmaster is already trying to gin up excitement for Santa's next ride.

Of course, Ticketmaster couldn't do it alone: To move Christmas season up to late spring, it needed an accomplice, a group so closely associated with the Yuletide season that it's beyond reproach. Santa and his elves are out, obviously, which left Ticketmaster only one choice: the Rockettes.

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I first became aware of Ticketmaster's scheme last week, when the company sent me an emailed offer for discounted tickets to the annual Radio City Music Hall spectacular. Last year, my wife, daughter and I went to the show, ponying up $162 for three seats. Since I bought the tickets through Ticketmaster, the company grabbed my information and, presumably, decided to let me know that, this year, I could get a great deal -- if I bought my ticket seven months ahead of time.

Admittedly, the deal is pretty good: for a prime orchestra seat at 5 p.m. on a Friday in November, I would only have to pay $49, rather than the usual $78 -- a pretty impressive 37 percent discount. Add in the standard $14 Ticketmaster fee, and the price rises to $63. Then again, I'd still need to know what I'm doing on a Friday in early November -- a date that is still six months away.

The Rockettes' complicity in Ticketmaster's dastardly plan extends even beyond advertising in May: they have also begun pushing their Christmas shows earlier and earlier. In 2011, the "Spectacular" began on Nov. 10. A year later, the first show was on Nov. 9. This year, the Rockettes take the stage on Nov. 8 -- almost two months before Christmas Day. And the Christmas creep continues ...

Ticketmaster could not be reached for comment.

Bruce Watson is DailyFinance's Savings editor. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.