I'd say it was two days after Thanksgiving when the folksy hay bales and hand-picked pumpkins I'd put out on our front stoop poofed into something preposterous. By this past Saturday, when they were blanketed with snow and the Santa-Jesus thinking was kicking in everywhere, I worried the neighbors would complain. I stuffed all three bales and two pumpkins into my garbage cans to await Tuesday's pick up. My son, outraged at the disposal of Halloween, carted a third pumpkin up to his bedroom for safe keeping.
In the meantime, the Christmas tree went up. Here are two tips for you: 1) When stringing lights, the plug end, with the prongs, should be the end that moves down the tree, around and around and around, to the outlet. Not vice versa. Trust me. You'll save yourself an hour of frustration and your child impatiently gazing at you like you're totally lame.
2) Whenever you travel, buy a Christmas ornament, no matter where you go or how meaningless of a trip it might seem. When holiday trimming time comes, you'll be transported to the memories of a tiny, crowded gift store down a forgotten side alley in Venice or a dopey trip to Judy Garland's birthplace or one of many trips to see mom and dad in Philadelphia. It's a wonderful joy to rediscover where you've been and how richly it can be remembered when you have a little token of that place in your hands.