Christmas Roulette.

I talk about this every year, but it seems to become more a trend with every year.

The vast bulk of the Christmas sales happen in the second half of the month. It's gotten so the first half of the month is actually slower than average, which didn't happen a decade or two ago. It used to be that there would be the big kickoff on Black Friday, which for us used to be much bigger deal, and then it would drop for maybe a week, and then starting the first week in December slowly build until exploding in the last week.

Now, it's a rather lackluster Black Friday, and then basically nothing for two and half weeks. We are still having record Christmases, mind you, but all because of those last 15 days, and most especially the ten days before Christmas.

Here's the thing:

If anything happens in those last ten days before Christmas -- a big news event, or a big weather event -- it would be a huge disaster.

Especially in Bend, and most especially in downtown Bend, we depend an awful lot on those vacationers and visitors who are looking for a unique experience.

Most years, I operate as if the possible disaster won't happen. And so far it hasn't. But it does seem to me to be only a matter of time. So for instance, there is supposed to be a big snowfall this weekend. Even if it doesn't hit Bend itself, it certainly will restrict travel over the mountains. (Linda had planned to go to the valley this weekend and is canceling, for instance.)

So that many fewer visitors.

The last big snowfall of a couple weeks ago had a major impact on sales, at a time when the drop for the average was an inconvenience. A similar percentage drop from December 15 to 24 would literally costs thousands and thousands of dollars in lost sales.

Linda has a saying, "Don't borrow trouble from the future."

Then again, when you're ordering product for the "future" you at least have to be aware of "trouble."

I don't know what the solution is. It's a behavior change that if anything is growing more pronounced. All I can do as a store owner is be careful.