Fact Check

One Holiday at a Time

While Nordstrom does have a longstanding policy not to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, a photograph of a sign to that effect which went viral in 2015 was actually taken in 2009.

Published Nov 11, 2015

[green-label]Claim:[/green-label] A photograph shows a sign from a Nordstrom department store stating that they won't be "decking the halls" until after Thanksgiving.


[green-label]WHAT'S TRUE:[/green-label] The Nordstrom department store chain has a policy of not putting up Christmas decorations until after the conclusion of the Thanksgiving holiday.

[red-label]WHAT'S FALSE:[/red-label] This policy, and the photograph of the sign announcing it, are new to 2015.

[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [green-small][Collected via e-mail, November 2015][/green-small]

This is going around Facebook. Is it true?


[green-label]Origins:[/green-label] In November 2015, a photograph purportedly showing a sign outside posted at a Nordstrom department store informing shoppers that the outlet would not be "decking the halls" (i.e., decorating for Christmas) until after Thanksgiving began circulating online and was picked up by some major news outlets and reported on as it if were fresh news:

nordstrom tweet

Although this photograph and the policy it conveys are real, the sign wasn't posted at a Nordstrom store in 2015. The image dates from 2009, when it was first published by The Consumerist. But even then, Nordstrom's "Christmas after Thanksgiving" policy was old news, and web sites reporting in 2009 that the store had just "announced" a new policy about their Christmas decorating plans were mistaken.

In fact, Lesa A. Sroufe, an analyst with Ragen nTC MacKenzie, referred to Nordstrom's Christmas after Thanksgiving policy as a "hallmark" of the store in an article published in 1992 by the Baltimore Sun:

"No decorations before Thanksgiving — it's a hallmark of Nordstrom," said Lesa A. Sroufe, an analyst with Ragen nTC MacKenzie in Seattle. "They're very high on tradition and they're very high on trying to keep a high quality. Tradition is very important to the Nordstrom family, and they'd rather keep to tradition as opposed to thinking how to pump sales." That, in turn, adds to Nordstrom's image of being a class act, she said.


[green-label]Last updated:[/green-label] 11 November 2015

[green-label]Originally published:[/green-label] 11 November 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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