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Christmas in July

By Paul McNamara on Fri, 07/13/07 - 11:51am.

The kids are just beginning their swimming lessons, leftover 4th of July firecrackers pop off around the neighborhood most nights, and the lake we live near teems with kayakers, boaters and fishing enthusiasts ... yet nothing says summer quite as distinctively as a Christmas catalog.

It's Tuesday, July 10 and my wife walks into our home office exclaiming: "We just got our first Christmas catalog!"

Christmas catalogNow, my wife, beautiful and charming though she may be, does have a penchant for the dramatic and mail-order catalogs arrive at our house just about every day there's mail. Yet the arrival of a Yuletide edition during the dawn of flip-flop season did indeed leave my mouth agape.

"No ... really?" was the best I could mutter in response.

Sure enough, a Christmas catalog from the good folks at Gooseberry Patch. As you can see from its Web site, Gooseberry Patch is not one of those all-Christmas/all-the-time outfits like Christmas Tree Shops, rather it bills itself as "Your Country Store Since 1984."

I had to send them an e-mail. My inquiry was simple and direct: "Why? ... Don't you think people might find a Christmas catalog in July ever so slightly, um, early?"

Liz Plotnick replies for Gooseberry Patch:

Dear Paul:

Thank you for your note. I'm glad that your wife received our new catalog but I'm sorry that she thought of it as a Christmas catalog and said "arghhh."

Sorry that she thought of it as a Christmas catalog? We thought of it as a Christmas catalog because, well, we're grownups, we've seen Christmas catalogs and this is what a Christmas catalog looks like.

Not according to Plotnick:

Gooseberry Patch only has three versions of our catalog each year so in mid-July we introduce all of our new fall and holiday cookbooks, organizers and bakers & crafters start early and they focus on year-round events through Halloween. I believe we have 5 pages out of 48 assorted with wonderful Christmas merchandise for those that start making their gifts and planning in July.

We can't be looking at the same catalog. The one I'm holding - the one you see pictured with "Christmas" stamped big as Santa Claus on the cover - has Christmas goodies layered through and through ... virtually every page.

But maybe I've been out in the July sun too long and, after all, we shouldn't be quibbling during this special time of the year. Either way, Plotnick wishes us nothing but the best during the upcoming ... uh, calendar.

Whatever type of shopper you and your wife are, we wish you a wonderful summer, fall and holiday season,

Liz & everyone at Gooseberry Patch

Same to you, Gooseberry Patchers ... just don't expect our Christmas card anytime soon.

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