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Since Halloween is over, the Christmas season is apparently well under way.

Now we all roll our eyes, because this is patently ridiculous. Everyone knows that the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving. Or if you have a large extended family, the day after second Thanksgiving. (Growing up, we always earmarked Thursday and Friday for my dad’s side, Saturday and Sunday for my mum’s. It worked surprisingly well, probably because we were so consistent about it that you could plan years in advance. The fact that most of the family lived in New England didn’t hurt, either.)

Everyone bemoans the way the Christmas merchandising season creeps earlier each year, and rightfully so. Christmas is no fun if you’re tired of it before it gets there.

But. There’s a funny things about living abroad from your family. Around here, Thanksgiving marks one of the last days for fiddling with or adding to our Christmas package before we pack it off for home. November is my big month for crafting, for writing cards, for poking around online and figuring out how to box up some Christmas spirit to be opened up–if all goes well with the mail–on Christmas day.

Dunfermline Abbey, from the grounds path

And then there’s the academic year. Classes end around December 5th and the whole school goes into exam mode. (Except me, as I’m neither taking nor teaching classes at the moment. Although I have a conference presentation, which is rather like an exam but in real life. That may be worse.) Thus, all festivities involving the younger–read: still at university–members of the dance group are best held before they study for exams, take said exams, and hurry off home. This schema coincides oddly well with my mail-order Christmas schedule.

After Thanksgiving, there’s a quiet sort of lull in which I slowly decorate the house, break out the cookie cutters and family recipes, and try to decide what festive marks of the season are going to grace our holiday parties. NTS has the dubious pleasure of any gifts I whip up after that. And of seeing the entire apartment decked out in red and green. Mama K. sent an assortment of Christmas print fabrics, so we’ll see where those end up!

Spider web in sunlight

So despite the fugly-ass wreath I made Sunday–it turns out that browns don’t fare especially well when you remove the afternoon sunlight–I am rapidly replacing the orange and russet in my schema with red and green. Considering how that wreath came out, actually, that may be a good thing. I may or may not have picked up cookie cutters in Christmas shapes this year, so my cookies will not be all circles and crescent moons like last year. (Fact: they were still delicious.)

Further fact: I actually brought some of my Christmas presents home when I flew back in August, full wrapped and tagged. I put my grandmother’s in a drawer in the TV cabinet. I’ll tell her where to find it come December. I am a Christmas ninja.

Lichened bridge

So… Happy Christmas planning?