Is it ever too early to start preparing for Christmas?

The weather has been warm and the city's beaches and parks have been packed, but those already in the Christmas spirit can get their fix at Costco stores in Metro Vancouver.

Christmas trees are currently on display at the retail giant and you can take home an artificial "Just Cut Aspen Fir" for $300. The trees stand over two metres tall and are outfitted with flashing multi-coloured lights.

The wholesale store is also selling lights and ribbons, though the holiday is still 137 days away.

In the retail world, the trend of decking the halls earlier each year is known as the "Christmas Creep," but an expert from the University of British Columbia said it's actually a myth. The trend of Christmas sales in the summer is not a new one.

"Dating back to the mid-1800s there were Christmas ads in mid-August, so we have this perception that it's earlier but as a business phenomenon…it's been happening for at least 150 years," said Kirstin Appelt, adjunct faculty at UBC's Sauder School of Business.

Appelt said every store has a different schedule, but that Costco pulled out the decorations about three or four weeks earlier this year than last.

With summer only just starting to wind down, and most consumers focused on back-to-school, it's hard for some shoppers to think about Christmas.

"Dreadful. Absolutely dreadful," one shopper told CTV News of the preseason sales.

"I saw it the other day and I was amazing that they were allowed to do that."

Another said stores should wait until Halloween is over, at least.

"It's just that we're not ready for it," Appelt said.

"It's hard to make that mental flip to: Oh, I should be starting to think about Christmas."

But for the planners, the timing just makes sense. Studies show approximately 20 per cent of consumers start their Christmas shopping in September, and another 40 per cent by Halloween.

"And you know what? The best selection is really now," one savvy shopper advised CTV.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Julie Nolin