Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Rushing the Season

76 Comments

Last Thursday during my commute to work, I changed radio stations and was shocked by what I heard. It was Halloween and this particular radio station was playing Christmas music. Instead of “The Monster Mash,” I heard “Silent Night.” That evening I stopped into the Dollar Tree and the store was full of Christmas decorations, there was no evidence of Halloween or Thanksgiving.

I’ve always loved the holidays. As a kid, the day after Thanksgiving marked the official countdown to Christmas for me and my sister. We marked each day off the calendar that hung on the refrigerator. I remember begging my mom to play her Perry Como, “Home for the Holidays” album, over and over.

Retailers have always jumped the gun when it comes to the seasons. I’ve gotten used to seeing swimsuits in the stores in February and winter coats in August. But, I draw the line at shopping on Thanksgiving Day for that $200.00 52’’ flat screen television. Yes, here in the U.S., the traditional day after Thanksgiving shopping day, known as “Black Friday,” now starts on Thanksgiving Day.

To me, the holidays are about family and friends. It’s about being generous with our time, not our wallets. It’s a time to remember that while the world around us is constantly changing, the one constant in our lives is our family and friends. It’s about doing what you enjoy. So, what did I do last weekend…I put up our Christmas decorations. Yep, I sure did.

What happened? Did I crack under the pressure of the retail industry? No, it wasn’t that. I love when the house is decorated for the holiday season and I want it to last as long as possible. Of course, the outside decorations won’t go up until after Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t want my neighbors to think I’m crazy.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

76 thoughts on “Rushing the Season

  1. It was an adjustment when I moved to London since they start putting out Christmas decorations early. Halloween isn’t big here and they don’t do Thanksgiving, so Christmas stuff goes up in October. I miss the transitions.

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    • I’m wondering if that’s typical in London, for the Christmas decorations to go up early. I had my autumn/Thanksgiving decorations up since September 1st, so I was ready for the change in the house. Like you, I like to have a transition period out in the market place. Enjoy your weekend!

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  2. Well, you really surprised me with the ending to this one! But I guess it’s true that I often feel like the Christmas season just goes by too fast. Putting up the decorations early (even just indoors!) could be a great way to get the Christmas cheer to last a little longer.

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    • LOL! Yeah, I guess it was a bit of a surprise…my dad was surprised when I told him. He asked, “What happened to Thanksgiving?” 🙂 For me, the season seems to pass so quickly, it’s my way of extending it a little longer. Plus, I love all of the red accents around the house. Thanks for stopping by Sharon. I hope you have a great weekend!

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  3. When I was (much) younger, Christmas decorations didn’t go up until after Thanksgiving. I don’t even think Christmas was talked about until after Thanksgiving 🙂 It’s primarily the retailers and advertisers that are pushing Christmas earlier and earlier. I have yet to meet an individual who enjoys leapfrogging Halloween and Thanksgiving, going directly to Christmas, especially when it’s only about consumerism and not good cheer. I think by putting up your decorations early you are trying to emphasize the good cheer, the festiveness of Christmas, rather than the relentless “buy, buy, buy” that the season has come to typify. If more people did as you, maybe there wouldn’t be so much angst this time of year 🙂

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    • Thank you, Marie. 🙂 Like you, when I was little, I don’t remember seeing department stores decorated for Christmas in late October and November. The stores that are starting their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day make me ill. Do they not care that their employees won’t be able to spend Thanksgiving with their families? It’s a different world, that’s for sure. I hope you crank out your NaNo word count this weekend, Marie! I’m pulling for you. 🙂

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      • Thanks, Jill. Regarding NaNo: so far, so good. Regarding Christmas in November: Maybe part of the problem with retail is that people don’t get paid unless they work. So if the stores want to be open to exploit Christmas shopping, they will have employees willing to work for the extra cash in lieu of being with their families. It’s still a sad commentary on our consumerist society that we value things more than people. I don’t often pine for the “old days,” but this time of year, I do find myself missing the times of our youth 🙂

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  4. Wow, Christmas certainly came early to your house Jill! I am going to write a post about my experiences as a Brit living in America and learning to celebrate Thanksgiving. Not to mentio the fact that my middle boy is a ‘Thanskgiving’ baby 🙂

    It is such a shame that commercialism has taken over, but as you so rightly say, the ‘holidays’ are all about family time and I never go near the shops on those shopping days, even if it does mean getting a 52″ flat screen TV for $200! Which, btw, is a darn sight cheaper than here in the UK!

    Hope your home is drying out Jill and also that you have a super weekend, enjoying your Christmas decorations 🙂 Ho Ho Ho!!

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    • Yes, it most certainly did, Sherri and I love it! 🙂 I’ll certainly look forward to reading your post about celebrating Thanksgiving. So your son was born on Thanksgiving? I’m wondering if the hospital served turkey…

      I don’t go near the stores after Thanksgiving. I get my shopping done early so I don’t have to fight the crowds. Like you, I get nervous in crowds. People are crazy when it comes to the super reduced prices. It can be dangerous. That’s not my kind of shopping experience.

      I wanted to thank you again for e-mailing your article from Prima. As I mentioned in my e-mail to you, I was moved by your words. Derek, my significant other, who was born in Devon, England, outside of Exeter in a small town called Exmouth, read it this evening and his exact words were, “That blew me away.” Needless to say, you have another fan! 🙂 Have a great weekend, Sherri!

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      • Oh Jill, yes your lovely email, so sorry, will be replying today I promise! I get so behind on my blog and catching up with other blogs that I tend to get to my emails last of all!

        Wow, that is a small world about your partner being born in Devon. We are in Somerset so right next door!! Exeter is only an hour’s drive from us and Exmouth not far either! We go shopping in Exeter sometimes. So tell him ‘Hi’ from me!!

        I’m blown away by his response to my article, so thank you (and him!) so much for sharing this with me. I do feel greatly encouraged by it all!

        I am with you on the shopping thing, another blog post on that coming up me thinks, and my son was born on 29 November so not exactly a Thanksgiving baby but close enough as you will see 🙂 Certainly I didn’t get turkey in the hospital, or atleast I don’t think I did??!!

        Hope you have a great week Jill and thanks again so much for all your lovely comments 🙂

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  5. I have been encouraging my husband to put up the outside decorations. We don’t need to light them but the day he picks to do it is always freezing cold and very windy. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was just about him but he always needs my help! Without young children in the family nearby, our Christmas is about people. We don’t buy many gifts so we get to enjoy friendship. I do think people are nicer at Christmas (mostly, unless you are battling someone for the 52″ flatscreen TV!)

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    • Those battles can be fierce, so I stay home and pay full price. My life is more valuable than a flatscreen TV! I think it would be a good idea for you and your husband to go out on the next mild day and put up the outdoor decorations. No one will really notice until they’re plugged in…we won’t tell. Enjoy your weekend, Kate!

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  6. That is pretty early Jill, but if you enjoy them, then why not. A dear friend of mine puts hers up around the middle of November (so quite soon) but they come down before New Year’s Eve. She likes the house to be fresh for whatever the next year brings. I rather like that sentiment.
    Now I must start to think about my Christmas shopping: I like to get that done fairly early so I am able to park in town, otherwise it is a nightmare and there is no way I’m going in on the bus!

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    • Actually, I usually take the decorations down a day or two after Christmas, Jenny. Like your friend, I like to have a fresh, clean start to the new year. Like you, I get my shopping done early to avoid the craziness. LOL…I take it you don’t like the bus…me either! Have a great weekend, Jenny!

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  7. I imagine that pretty soon, we’ll be having Christmas fireworks on the 4th of July!

    I agree with your view, Jill. When I remember the holidays, I have visions of family and friends and ugly sweaters and lots of delicious food. A lot of that has changed over the years, but I’m glad to still have those memories. My wife and I love to decorate as well, so we’ll probably be joining you soon with our own early indoor decorations.

    Hope you have a great weekend! 😀

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    • LOL…you might be right, Phillip! I sure hope not, but it seems we’re moving in that direction. Oh yes, the ugly sweaters. I love people who take that to the extreme and purposely wear the ugliest Christmas sweater they can find.

      Maybe you and your wife will break out the decorations when you return from mining for gold. 🙂 I hope you have a great time. I’ll look forward to some pictures on your blog.

      Congratulations again on a productive week with NaNo. Enjoy your trip!

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  8. I ran into the same problem when I was looking for Halloween lights. It was early October and the Halloween isle had been replaced with Christmas decorations. Very frustrating. I too love when the house is all decked out for Christmas and want it to last and last. I do my decorating the day after Thanksgiving and leave it until a few days after New Year’s day. And I do most of my Christmas shopping early. But I thought it was ridiculous to take away all the Halloween stuff and put in Christmas the first week of October. If they want to put Christmas stuff out early that’s fine, but leave a little Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations until those holiday’s have passed. I love that you put up your Christmas decorations already. I’ve always wanted mine up for Thanksgiving dinner, but never seem to find the time. You’ve inspired me so maybe this year. 😉

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    • I agree, Elizabeth, it’s wrong for the stores to move out their merchandise so soon. I’m sure that was frustrating when you went in search of Halloween lights. Perhaps they think since they’ve had the Halloween stuff out since September 1st, we should have made our purchases by now. Actually I don’t know what their thinking is, but I wish they would get in sync with our calendar. I hope you get your decorations out for Thanksgiving dinner this year…keep me posted. 🙂 Have a fantastic weekend!

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  9. Whoa! Go Jill! Feliz Navidad to you! 🙂 🙂 I still think it’s summer. You are so right about the craziness of Black Friday beginning on Thanksgiving day. Very sad, actually. Nothing is sacred anymore.

    I usually decorate on the later side of Dec but then leave everything up until the end of Jan. It’s whatever works for you and your family. You can do whatever you want – damn it! 🙂 You should post pics of your decorations. 🙂

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    • LOL! I appreciate your enthusiasm, Maria! It’s hard for me to think it’s still summer when it’s dipping down into the 30’s at night. I know it’s much colder up your way…perhaps you have the heat cranked up. 🙂

      I was furious when I heard about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. I think last year they at least waited until 11:00 p.m. or midnight on Thanksgiving…that was bad enough. Do their employees not deserve to celebrate the holiday with their family? I hope they’re getting paid triple OT, but sadly, I know they won’t.

      You’re right, I can do whatever I want – “damn it!” 🙂 And so can you! I normally start taking down the decorations a day or two after Christmas. After nearly two months, I’m ready to pack it up! Enjoy your weekend, Maria! I hear you all might get a big storm next week…be safe!

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  10. Ugh, that’s awful! We had Halloween stuff here and now Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s worse where you live?

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    • It is crazy, Luanne. All of our stores seemed to have forgotten about Thanksgiving, maybe it’s because they’re making their employees work that day or that they can make more money off Christmas decorations than Thanksgiving. I’m happy to hear that some areas don’t rush to the next money making holiday. Have a great weekend!

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  11. Too much Christmas music drives me crazy. Because there are only so many Christmas songs…

    Mind you, as soon as it gets dark and rainy here, I do start associating that with the run up to Christmas, and the feeling of being glad to be back at home in the warm and dry. Which is very much true today. I do like a good Christmas decoration. Are you going to post some pictures?

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    • I agree, although I do love Christmas music, hearing it the entire month of November and up until Christmas day, does get annoying. There’s a song called, “Santa Baby” that drives me insane…I can’t stand it!

      I can relate to your feeling about being home, warm and dry. There’s nothing I love better than coming in from the cold and plugging in all of the Christmas lights and getting cozy.

      I wanted to post some pictures, but my camera was freaking out. Hopefully I’ll figure out the problem. Have a great weekend, Denise!

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  12. Ha ha … yeah, this phenomenon has been going on for a while and has always amused me. Back in my old blog, I even wrote about a surprisingly early beginning to the Christmas season (http://www.pagan-and-proud.com/pagan-and-proud/Blog/Entries/2010/8/25_christmas_in_august.html)

    I’ve always loved the holidays, and Christmas in particular. When my kids were young, the official start of Christmas was on Thanksgiving day. That’s when all the decorations would come out and the music would start playing. These days, the decorations don’t come out for a while, but I do start the Christmas music early 🙂 I like that you put out your decorations inside. How fun is that?

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    • LOL! I read the post, Dave. That is unbelievable, Santa Claus at Costco, in August! That takes the cake! I would have thought I was seeing a mirage.

      I used to be embarrassed to tell anyone I put my decoration up so early, but not anymore. I love the decorations and I don’t think I need to hide it from anyone. 🙂

      On another note, I had no idea you’ve been blogging since 2010! I have a lot of catching up to do. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend, Dave!

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      • Hey, never be embarrassed about enjoying Christmas or the decorations. I have a funny story to tell about Christmas decorations, but you’ll have to wait to hear about it.

        Hard to believe I’ve been blogging off and on since about 2008, believe it or not. Hope you catch some of the old posts. Some are pretty good. I might actually feature some on Throwback Thursdays 🙂

        BTW – did you see all those Rudolphs? Yeah, well guess what? That’s right. I bought one 🙂 Pretty soon we’ll be unpacking him and setting him out for the season.

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      • Thanks for making me not feel like a freak, Dave. 🙂 Oh, I can’t wait to read about your Christmas decorations. I hope it’s coming up soon.

        Oh wow, since 2008. Well, I do have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll certainly go through your archives.

        Yes, I love Rudolph! For whatever reason, I always cry when I watch the original show, when he’s teased. I think most of the tears are nostalgic.

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  13. Ditto to your comments, especially about the importance of family and friends, Jill.
    Even as a child, I don’t remember early preparations for Christmas. The Advent Candle at church, and the candle light service on Christmas Eve. But our family didn’t even put up a tree until the week before Christmas! The baking began then, too, and we kids were sent out delivering baskets of fruit and cookies on the 20th, but the pace was slower, the music nonstop on the radio and the stereo, and everyone in the neighborhood put out at least one strand of Christmas lights on a pine tree. Really good memories.

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    • Ah, Christmas Eve candle light service, my favorite time of the season, Marylin. I think we would all benefit from a slower pace, but unfortunately it seems as though the holiday season creates so much stress for people. I’m happy I have my memories of Christmas past. Have a great weekend, Marylin!

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  14. Bring back the twelve days of Christmas – start Christmas Eve, finish 6th January. I look forward to ignoring the whole thing until then 🙂

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  15. Hahaha no, you didn’t! That is hilarious. I love love love Christmas. I didn’t celebrate for a few sad years but now I am back in full force and want to go all Santa’s elf on everyone I encounter. Still, I am amazed that you put yours up so early! Now I think we all need pictures. To um, get us in the holiday spirit and all that, you know?

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  16. I love Christmas decorations! I admit I was a bit judgmental one year when my neighbors had their Christmas decorations up BEFORE Halloween. But I love the glow of Christmas lights. So, I can’t say I blame you for wanting to decorate. Gives you more time to enjoy the decorations. And you won’t feel rushed later on. So, I might have to dig out some decorations and get started too!

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    • I knew there was a reason, aside from your great writing, that I liked you! 🙂 Wow, Christmas decorations before Halloween, that’s a little extreme, but who am I to judge? It is nice to get everything out of the attic and not be rushed. Like you, I love the glow from the lights…in fact, I’m enjoying the glow now! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

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  17. After years of working in retail and many holiday seasons, I strictly avoid the stores. And since my children are grown, we now buy each other what is now a tradition of inexpensive gifts. Heaven forbid I should forget their can of cashews and dollar store bag of cleaning supplies and a calendar to keep them organized and a new tree decoration to add to their collections. I really look forward to having them all to myself for the day. And I would say within the next week the apartment will be decorated for Christmas. When I was a kid, the tree didn’t go up until Christmas Eve and came down New Year’s Day. And of course, we had to wait until Dad got the tree in the stand and tested all the lights! And, too, I think with artificial everything, it is easier now to decorate early.

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    • Oh, if I worked in retail for years, I would certainly avoid the stores too, Mary. I’m sure you have plenty of stories. I love the tradition of inexpensive gifts, my family had adapted that tradition as well and I love it. I hope you’ll take some photos of your decorations. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mary, enjoy your weekend!

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  18. We have a lite rock station here in Chicago the morphs into holiday music in late November. A few years ago they jumped the gun and changed the format on November 1st. Big mistake. The backlash on the morning show hosts (typically a really popular duo) was ruthless. I think most folks like to savor one season at a time, and here in the US, we get to enjoy a gradual change throughout the fall before the holiday season. The following year the change to holiday tunes on this radio station went back to the day after Thanksgiving. At least they listened to their audience.

    You really surprised me at the end of this post. My next door neighbor also puts up her tree really early. I admire your reasoning, but I just can’t do it. We set aside a day in mid-December to decorate, and by then the festive feel of the season is in full swing. Since we travel every year over the school winter break, all the decorations come down on the 26th. I’m not a humbug, just practical 😉

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    • A radio station here in Charlotte changed their format of non-stop Christmas music beginning November 1st after receiving numerous complaints. That particular station plans to start Thanksgiving Day. Give the people what they want, right?

      I’m with you on being practical and taking your decorations down before you go on vacation. I certainly wouldn’t want to return from a trip, after Christmas and be faced with a house full of decorations to pack away.

      I hear there is a large storm moving across the country that will eventually hit the East coast. I wonder if it’s going to pass through your area along the way…no doubt you’re used to snow before Thanksgiving.

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Gwen!

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      • We’re supposed to get that weather today – lots of rain, with the potential of turning to snow by evening. The next couple days will not rise above the mid-30s…brrr. You’re right, it’s not uncommon to see a snow shower or two in November. Thankfully it doesn’t start to accumulate until next month. Regardless, I’ll be wearing my snowpants outside at recess this week!

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      • Sometimes I think a cold rain is worse. Stay warm!

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  19. What? Jill changed radio stations on her commute to work? 🙂
    There is a lot of conversation going on about the stores opening on Thanksgiving- I am disappointed that the businesses have gotten greedy. Imagine having to leave your family and friends and go off to work on this special family holiday.

    You have an early start on Christmas! We wait until the first week of December to put up our tree and decorations.
    Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

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    • LOL…I waited until I was at a red light, Elaine. 🙂

      I think people should protest and not go to the stores opening on Thanksgiving, but you know there will be people who don’t see anything wrong with it. No, I can’t imagine leaving my family and the yummy food to go to work.

      Yes, I do have an early start on Christmas. I even purchased a few extra decorations today. 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  20. The day after Halloween they were playing Christmas music in my local little department store! It feels like everyone is in the mood early this year – very early. I say, if it makes you feel good to put up decorations now – go for it! I would like to do that myself! 🙂

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  21. It’s likely tied to the economy…you know, the commercial aspects of the season. Just hope ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Silent Night’ and all carols ring out this year. First, though, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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    • Yes, everything comes down to profits. I haven’t started playing any Christmas music in the house, I usually refrain until after Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Billy! I’ll bet everyone will be traveling to TN to see your beautiful home. Enjoy your Sunday!

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  22. You’re making up for my slack, Jill – as the Queen of Procrastination, I’m lucky to have things up by Christmas. And I’ve been known to send out “New Year’s Greetings” that look just like Christmas cards – only they arrive the week after.

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    • I too can be the procrastination queen, but when it comes to Christmas decorating, I’m way ahead of the game. LOL…I’ve been the recipient of a few of those “New Year’s Greeting” cards. It’s the thought that counts, Shel!

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  23. I get more “bah-humbug!” as the years go by, I’m sorry to say, Jill. I’m thinking of campaigning for bi-ennial Christmas. 😦

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  24. Yes, I can definitely relate to the desire to make the holidays more of a time for people to just congregate, as opposed to strictly observing gift-giving or really any other custom. Just for one year, I think it would be an interesting idea to ask everyone from my extended family to agree that we were not going to give each other gifts, and instead we were all going to sit down in a single room with no electronic distractions, and go around and have each of us state what is going on for us and what is most important to us in our lives right now.

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    • What a great idea, Chris. I think a lot of families would benefit. Electronic distractions are a pet peeve of mine. It’s as though you’re telling the person you’re talking with in person, this person (on the device) is a little more important. Thanks for sharing your idea…I love it!

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  25. Christmas time is happy time and I do not believe in any delays in that so I don’t mind if we start the festivities earlier. Buntings and decorations and some music can play magic on my mood in uplifting it. You are so right it is family time and it does mean spending quality time with family. I love buying gifts for family and friends and I do the wrapping and everything much earlier to get into the spirit of Christmas. I love festive times Jill, they just rejuvenate my spirits. Love the post and the surprise ending too. My eyes are finally alright now, after some rest. Excellent theme of the post as usual. Take care and have a lovely week my friend.

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    • “They just rejuvenate my spirits.” You are spot on, Samina! That’s exactly how I feel about festive times. Oh, I’m so happy to hear your eyes are doing better. That is great news! I hope you have a wonderful week, Samina. 🙂

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  26. Well said Jill. People seem to have forgotten the meaning behind holidays. Christmas is not about getting the best gifts at the best prices. Or at least that should only be a fraction of it. It should be about creating memories. baking cookies. Decorating a tree. Having family traditions. Shopping can happen anyday anytime. Thanksgiving only comes one day a year.

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  27. You got a lot of feedback on this one, Jill! My first thought when I got to the end of your post is your neighbors probably already know if you’re crazy or not; hard to keep things like that a secret. 🙂

    A local DJ commented a few weeks ago that she feels the holiday season has turned into HallowThanksMas. Interesting term that reflects how our society has blurred the lines. Personally, I wish Halloween would shrink back to the one-day event it was when I was a kid, and that Christmas season would start after Thanksgiving. Guess my age is showing! Hahahahaha…

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    • LOL…I guess you’re right! I might as well put the wreath on the front door now.

      I’m with you, when I was young Halloween was one night. Now people decorate their houses weeks ahead. I’m not sure what it’s like where you live,but here in Charlotte, people go crazy at Halloween. Thanks for stopping you and taking the time to comment, Natine. 🙂

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  28. “The holidays are about being generous with our time, not our wallets.” – LOVE this! I completely agree, and I think it’s terrible that Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving. I don’t like how much our society pushes us to be consumers all…the…time, and I make it a point to buy absolutely nothing on Black Friday, just because I don’t like how it’s becoming more of a big deal than Thanksgiving. To me, the holidays will always be about family and friends who are family, and, of course, eating good mashed potatoes. 😉

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    • Thanks! I’m with you, I stay far away from the stores on Black Friday. And you’re right, it has overshadowed our Thanksgiving tradition…very sad. Oh yes, we can’t forget the mashed potatoes…they’re my favorite! Enjoy!

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