Steven Depolo, "stevendepolo" via flickr
Colorful school supplies want to be purchased now for back to school.

Nobody is surprised to see Christmas displays go up months early. Having Black Friday shopping begin on Thanksgiving is old hat by now. So it shouldn't be a shocker to see back-to-school marketing begin in the first week of July.

A reader of Consumerist spotted the earliest sighting of school marketing: "Reader Karl lives in Canada, but the school year in his area is about the same as much of the United States: it begins after Labo(u)r Day. He was surprised to see big displays at Sears (the first week of July) urging customers to start their back-to-school shopping, since the kids had been out of school for maybe a week at that point."

It may make some sense to start gathering charity items now as part of a project to help lower-income kids get ready for school. For example, Victory Mission in Missouri just started such a campaign, according to KY3-TV.

"For our teachers it's a major importance every child in the classroom is ready to go on the first day," Jim Harriger, with Victory Mission told KY3-TV. "Being prepared gets that child excited about learning. If they are excited the first day, they have more of an opportunity to be excited all year long."

But it still has to make summer vacation a little less carefree when businesses start back to school so early. The most prominent example is Apple's annual back-to-school promotion. MacWorld explains the deal: "When customers purchase a Mac for college, they'll receive a $100 App Store Gift Card, alongside the usual educational pricing discounts — up to $200 — that the company offers. As with last year, customers can also pick up a $50 gift card when they buy an iPad, and, for the first time, the iPhone is included in the promotion as well."

Even financial advice writers are getting on the early back-to-school bandwagon. Faye Prosser at WRAL says, "The back-to-school deals are starting up this weekend and it's time to think about paper, pens, crayons, backpacks and much more! Here are some tips to remember when gathering all the items from the long list of supplies that your kids are expected to bring to class."

Tips? Already?

Prosser's advice includes things like "First step — shop your house," "Hold a clothing swap," "Price match to cut down on trips to different stores" and "Buy a few extra supplies for later in the year."

Some states even have a tax-free holiday around back to school time. Prosser's state of North Carolina begins August 2 and runs to August 4.

So people in North Carolina have about a month before they can put her advice to the test.

So far, however, nobody is suggesting buying school supplies to use as Christmas gifts, but it is probably just a matter of time.


Twitter: @degroote