I suddenly feel like I have that deer-in-the-headlights look. 37 days. Doesn't seem like that big of a deal until I start factoring how those days will be spent: a few days here for Thanksgiving, a few days there for business travel (fingers crossed that I'm not snow-bound on my trips), a day or two for the Christmas cookie baking marathon with my sister, a few days to write out and mail cards. Then there is the annual tradition my husband and I have of going into "the city" (NYC to the rest of you) to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, window displays, St. Patrick's Cathedral - all the usual holiday tourist traps. I won't even mention the shopping for both sides of the family. It's because of the holiday mall madness that I now prefer to do as much shopping online as I can, any time of year.
For all the craziness of the season, I love it. I really do. There is a warm glow about the holidays that is not duplicated any other time of year. The excitement of anticipation and preparing...and wishing for snow on Christmas day (yes, I've had the same wish every year since I was a kid.) So, this morning as snow flurries floated outside my windows, the excitement started to build. I even listened to a few Christmas songs on my ipod driving to work.
I know, I know. Normally, I would say that it's way too early for that. It's not even Thanksgiving, for crissakes. No doubt, retailers are pushing the holidays big time this year, too, doing all they can to encourage people to buy, buy, buy in these hard economic times that could mean the store's survival or demise. But - to repeat the cliche - the holidays are not about buying. It's not about the lights and decorations or songs. It's about the love and the spirit of giving. This year, probably more than any other in recent memory, I think it's important that those who are able give what they can to help others. Seriously. I'm not going to list all the charities that are out there, and I'm not going to plead with you to donate to them; that has to be your own choice. But I do ask that you remember, maybe a little more than usual, that there are many more this year that need help - and it's never too early to start giving.