Saskatchewan-born entrepreneur Brett Wilson is calling on businesses to hold off putting up Christmas decorations until after Remembrance Day. 

Brett Wilson

Entrepreneur Brett Wilson said stores should hold off with Christmas decorations until after Remembrance Day.

The former cast member of the Dragons' Den said the early Christmas displays and sales show a lack of respect for war veterans. 

"It's a source of frustration, particularly to some of the veterans that I know who feel that they're being kinda swept aside in the commercialization of Christmas," he told Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski. 

"There's an opportunity to celebrate the lives and the remembrance with that of those who served our nation and not do that at the expense of a single customer who would have otherwise come in."

Wilson took to Facebook and Twitter on Sunday to make his point. 

Some stores replied to his comments, which he said reached more than one-million people through social media, and say they will wait to put up their decorations. 

He says he doesn't have a problem with selling Christmas goods, but he argues it dominates the conversation. 

Out of necessity

Karen Sorochan Saskatoon

Karen Sorochan, manager of Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Saskatoon, began preparing the store for Christmas on October 25. (Steve Pasqualotto/CBC)

Karen Sorochan, manager of Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Saskatoon, said she doesn't think it's disrespectful to veterans if businesses are decorated for the holidays before Remembrance Day. 

"I would like to see more attention paid to Remembrance Day," she said. "I think that is falling off. But I don't think Christmas and Christmas decorations are drawing away from that."

Staff at her store began decorating on October 25 in order to be ready by November 1. 

"I need to be all ready by Remembrance Day, because once Remembrance Day is done, then people are more apt to come in and buy and when I'm getting more and more customers I don't have time to get out the Christmas," she said. 

"We don't want to be left in the dust. We have to keep up with the Walmarts, some of the Targets and Canadian Tire."

Brian Cowie, a Carnduff, Sask. owns an electronics store and is rolling out his Christmas sales and decorations this week.

In an open letter to Wilson, Cowie wrote "it is important to follow consumer demands and public opinion in order to remain relevant and competitive."

Cowie said he didn't make the decision lightly and it's been debated for several years. With the rise of online shopping and the town close proximity to the United States, Cowie said it's important for his community's businesses to start the Christmas sales season early.

Cowie also said it's important for people to remember and honour veterans every day.


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