FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The biggest retailers are getting a head start on the season, but a lot of shoppers today are asking, “Why, when everybody is not even through celebrating Halloween, are stores already onto Christmas?”

One local economist says retailers pushing the early sales don’t just want to get shopping dollars, they also want to get the dollars first, before their competition.

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“Every year it’s harder and harder to explain why you’re seeing Santa. You know, you’re seeing Santa Nov. 1,” Deborah Flynn of Fort Collins said.

“It seems like it’s too much, just too much. One day is enough of crazy, $20 TVs,” Brenna Minier from Greeley said.

Major U.S retailers are rewriting the holiday shopping calendar, launching their traditional Black Friday deals just one day after Halloween. On Saturday, giants like Amazon and Walmart plan to kick off the kind of sales, that up until now, they offered on the day after Thanksgiving.

“That gimmick, quote, unquote, has kind of worn off,” Colorado State University economics expert Stephan Weiler said.

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Weiler said retailers need a new strategy. He said falling gas prices are already lifting consumers’ moods, and he expects that economic news to make the most impact on how much shoppers spend this season.

“It probably has relatively little to do with Black Friday, but probably has more to do with how consumers are feeling,” Weiler said.

Whether shoppers like it or not, Santa is already in stores.

For holiday shoppers relying on layaway, the early deals provide an advantage.

“If they’re pushing for this Black Friday the day after Halloween, it’s more time for someone to get into this program that they’re pushing in there,” Chris Mitchell from Greeley said.

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Two years ago Hurricane Sandy and other severe storms took a toll on holiday spending because consumers stayed home, or were simply distracted from shopping. The weather factor may be one more reason there’s a trend toward earlier holiday sales — retailers are hoping to get consumers spending before unpredictable winter weather sets in.