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Why are businesses putting up Christmas decorations?

By Rebecca Black and Nevin Farrell

Published 26/10/2015

The Christmas decorations at Alexanders in Markethill
The Christmas decorations at Alexanders in Markethill
The tree in Tesco Newtownbreda
Robin and Valerie Adair in front of a Christmas tree in Ballymena

Tis the season to be jolly... not yet it isn't!

It might not be Halloween until this weekend, but already a number of stores and homes are starting to get visibly excited about Christmas.

And despite there being more than 10 weeks to go until the big day, Ballymena already has three large Christmas trees dotted across the town.

The early festive frenzy has sparked a mixed reaction on social media, where a gleeful countdown of the number of "sleeps" until Christmas has been under way on Facebook since the summer, to disbelief from those not quite ready to start getting excited until December.

Alexanders of Markethill has been proudly displaying pictures of its Christmas at the North Pole-themed display on its Facebook page, featuring lit-up penguins, polar bears and seals since October 15.

Along with a lot of admiring comments, there has also been disbelief at a festive display going up so early.

Laura McGowan commented "November is acceptable", and Ann Thompson added: "the magic of Christmas in October OMG".

Christmas trees have also been spotted at Tesco in Newtownbreda, while Lidl threw what must have been the first festive party of the season on October 13.

Bugle babes sung carols on a stage shared with lit-up reindeer, sparkly trees and a full turkey dinner, including Brussels sprouts.

Meanwhile, the Co Antrim town of Ballymena may claim to be enthusiastic about Christmas.

In 2010 it turned its Christmas lights on so early that they had to be dimmed for Remembrance Sunday.

This year there are currently three trees up around the town, but the official one will not be switched on until safely after Remembrance Day.

The Christmas tree at Broadway in the centre of the town was put up on Tuesday, October 20, although the lights have not been put on it yet.

Yesterday passers-by thought it was too early to be up.

In the past Ballymena was the first place in the UK to light up the Christmas tree illuminations - November 1 - although they have been switched on later in recent years after a mixed reaction to the early start.

The switch-on date this year is later in November.

"It is very early for the Christmas tree to be up. I haven't even thought about Christmas yet. It seems very strange to have it up already," said Sharon McNabney.

Robin and Valerie Adair said it was unusual to have the tree up but hoped the lights would not go on until after Remembrance Sunday.

Valerie said: "It is a bit odd that it is up already in October."

Robin added: "The middle of November would be more my line, or the start of December."

Victoria Steveley said: "It is up pretty early but it usually is and people are used to it. Everybody seems to be used to it because it has been like that for the last few years."

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