Christmas in ... September? Decoration dismay hits a Torrance mall — but is it justified?

A Christmas tree and other decorations seen from a mall's upper level.
A Christmas-themed set is displayed for filming at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Friday.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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When Christmas appeared to come early at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, the internet was appalled.

A snapshot posted on Reddit Thursday seemed to show that the retail industry had taken Christmas creep way too far. Headlined, in part, “Insanity at the Del Amo Mall”, the photo showed a Christmas tree decorated with glittery red, green and silver baubles in a plaza at the mall, right between Bunny Hills and Michael Kors.

Festive garlands adorned the upstairs railing. Two silver reindeer sculptures stood nearby.


Had the mall really put up Christmas decorations in mid-September?

“Come on, I thought the rule is after Thanksgiving,” one Reddit user commented. A recent visitor to the mall agreed, commenting, “My wife and I were aghast.”

One headline declared, “Torrance mall already decorated for Christmas.”

As surely as the crocus heralds the arrival of spring, we motorists on the Santa Ana Freeway long have marked the onset of Christmas season by the appearance of an enormous red bow draped atop the Citadel Outlets mall, not far from downtown Los Angeles.

Oct. 18, 2016

But like so much in Southern California, the scene in Torrance was just that.

On a balmy Friday afternoon, the day after the start of the decoration dismay, the only sign of Christmas was at the shoot of a holiday commercial.

“It’s supposed to run in December,” a headset-clad member of the film crew confirmed.

People stand near a mall Christmas tree
Some people mistook the film set for actual Christmas decorations.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A group of dancers in black velvet dresses turned cartwheels across the festive backdrop, while a male model dressed as a bellhop practiced carrying a tall stack of wrapped gifts after a Christmas shopper in a plaid skirt. There was a Santa Claus, and a coat rack filled with red Santa costumes next to a fluorescent screen illuminating the set.

Some mall visitors interrupted their shopping trips to watch the scene from the upper floor.

“For a bit, I thought the decorations were real,” said Adrian Rivera. “It was a little unexpected. But I don’t mind. It brings out the joy of Christmas.”


Another passerby, Richard Lima, carried his 2-year-old daughter — who by coincidence was clothed in a red dress with a white collar.

“We’re Christmas fanatics. We’re already starting to bring out the Christmas stuff at home,” Lima said. “We usually put up the tree in the first week of November.”

Some consider it a faux pas to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but is the stress of the pandemic turning more people into early decorators?

Nov. 18, 2020

As the shoot wrapped, cheers and applause erupted from the crew on the set.

Christmas was going back in the box — for a bit, at least.