This morning at breakfast I watched my daughter zone out while looking out the window at another grey day. She caught me looking at her. "I like watching the trees shiver," she mumbled. And "shivering" they were. The day is a bit cool with a sky smudged with dirty clouds; the wind howls. Yep. It's October, folks.
I used to get indignant when I would see Christmas decorations up in U.S. stores around Halloween time. Can't we just enjoy the moment, I'd grumble, without always missing it by planning ahead? They don't do that over here. Christmas stuff maybe appears around the 2nd week in December. If Orthodox Christmas wasn't January 7th, then maybe it would grace the shelves around December 1st. That's the way it should be, I think. Enjoy one season at a time.
Sadly, though, I'm on the U.S. retail calendar now. I've been forced too. Even though we can communicate with each other instantaneously via Internet, we still haven't created a Star Trek-style transporter that teleports our real stuff in seconds, rather than weeks (or months!). The holidays are extra, extra slow. Instead of the somewhat reliable 2 weeks, it can take up to 2 months or more for mail to arrive. If I don't get gifts sent by the first week in November, they just might not arrive in time. If I don't order stuff for the kids, it just might not arrive in time. Been there. Done that.
While living in the Western Hemisphere, I only had to order by Thanksgiving to be safe. Europe is a whole different matter. I did my Turkey Day ordering my first year in Macedonia. All I can say, is thank goodness for Orthodox Christmas (the stuff arrived January 6) and thank goodness for the always-on-time- mostly-early-forever-military grandparents so my kids had something to open on December 25. I can only imagine Asia. Christmas in July takes on a whole new meaning.
Even if you don't feel like it, start (sorry, I'm late for you, China) ordering your stuff for Christmas, start making those crafts for Gramma and Grampa, and get them in the mail. You don't want to be last minute shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve that generally cost twice as much overseas. It's painful and no fun.
So, let's get into the spirit of things! The holidays must begin!
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