Anticipating the Holidays

…and not in a good way. A friend of mine was hosting a Halloween party this year. Awesome! Her party, however, fell the day after Halloween, on November 1. This was actually perfect, since it was a Saturday night and we “fell back” an hour last night/this morning as we left off Daylight Savings Time. A fun party plus an extra hour of sleep? Woo hoo!

pot brownieThis was a costume party, mind you. A costume optional party, but my husband and I thought it would be fun to go in costume for once. We are not “costume people.” Still, we were making an effort. Yesterday (the day of the party), I went to a craft store to look for a couple of things I needed to complete my costume (I was a pot brownie, he was Tim the Enchanter). While there, I noticed there was a lot of Anticipating the Holidays going on. Not only was all the Halloween stuff at least 75% off, but the Thanksgiving stuff was at least 50% off. Thanksgiving isn’t for another 25 days, people! For the mathy among us, that is 3 weeks and 4 days away. Practically a month! Yet they are so desperate to commit fully and completely to Christmas that Thanksgiving has already been pushed into one side of a single aisle and priced to move.

Tim the EnchanterI don’t care to anticipate the holidays quite that much. Heck, I have Veteran’s Day to celebrate and a 7-night cruise to enjoy before we even get to Thanksgiving! After that is my mother’s birthday, a sister’s birthday, a brother-in-law’s birthday, my sister-in-law’s birthday and my father’s birthday (he would have been 78 this year) before we get to Christmas. I don’t need to jump straight from Halloween to Christmas, craft store people. Thanks anyway!

How about you? Do you like to jump ahead and get an extra-early start on the holidays or are you content to let one pass before anticipating the next? (Confession, I have bought a couple of Christmas presents already.) I would love to know who is carefully crafting for Christmas and who still has turkey on her mind! 🙂

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  • Jane says:

    Hello Caren,
    I would like to enjoy one holiday before having to think/worry/prepare for the next, but it seems all the stores are reading to usher in the next holiday. I do enjoy the after Halloween sales and checking out the cheap candy, but the store is already full of Christmas decorations reminding me I need to start preparing for it.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, I was a bit appalled they were basically skipping right over Thanksgiving. Bad enough that stores are OPEN on Thanksgiving now, so workers must skip or greatly condense their own observation of the holiday so people can SHOP, but to discount it NOW was just ridiculous to me.

      Of course, the GR is thrilled to be with you, because he already has a Christmas list made out and is hoping you will take him shopping! He is the worst.

  • Helen says:


    I feel your pain there are so many Christmas things out in the shops over here in Oz and they have slowly been creeping in since September and I think that is way too early although I would like to think that I was ready early for Christmas I think that is way too early and I too have a cruise in a few weeks and lots of birthdays before Christmas LOL

    Have Fun

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, September is just ridiculous for Christmas stuff to be out, isn’t it? That is one-third of the year between 1 Sept. and Christmas. Craziness!

      Plus, we have Thanksgiving and, of course, you and I have all those birthdays to celebrate! I don’t think I’m going to stress about Christmas at all this year. My mother and I already decided we are keeping it very low-key, like we did last year. We had a lovely celebration and did not stress about anything!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Also, WOO HOO on going on a cruise! Where are you cruising to? The cruises in your part of the world always seem so much more exotic than the Caribbean. 😀

  • Mary Preston says:

    For us the next big step is Christmas. We didn’t even have Halloween to contend with. I start planning for Christmas once all the birthday festivities are done & dusted. That means September.


    • Caren Crane says:

      Mary, do you really spend months prepping for Christmas? That would make me insane! Then again, if we didn’t have Thanksgiving in late November, it might be nice to stretch it out a bit.

      I dread dragging all the Christmas stuff out, though, I won’t lie. It seems such an effort when the kids are grown and gone. I love having a tree up, but the DH is bitter about the whole process. LOL

  • Shannon says:

    I have to admit, I’ve begun the family steam of Christmas gift planning. My sexist excuse is that if I don’t start early my brothers (certifiably male), nothing will get done until 24 December. SIL agrees. Since I live on the East Coast and they live on the West Coast, I must ship packages. And for those to arrive I like to have gone by 10 December. Black Friday or shortly thereafter, I need to be in stores. So in my case, it’s not just the stores.

    An no, we have not agreed that we are buying Mom a smart phone. But we all think it’s a good idea. Brother #2 can go to Apple on 23 December, and I’ll send him a check next year. It works.

    As for early Christmas, although I think it may be Thanksgiving, Martenilli has these strange varieties of sparking apple cider–one is mango apple. It sounds so wrong, but I’m looking for a reason to open a bottle.

    • Caren Crane says:

      LOL on “letting” your brother handle the phone purchase. It’s a total win-win for you guys. You get to hand it off to him and he gets to feel like a hero. I love it!

      I’m glad my youngest will be home (just before) Christmas. That way I don’t have to worry about shipping gifts to England. My son lives in NY now, but he will be visiting NC for the holidays. I’m glad he will be here, even if we do have to share him with his girlfriend’s family in SC!

      And YES to the odd-sounding ciders. All cider varieties must be tried at the holidays, no matter which holidays they are. 😀

      • Shannon says:

        I heard western NC got snow this weekend, which is quite early. You’re not seeing flakes are you?

        • Caren Crane says:

          No snow here, Shannon, but it was snowing like crazy in the mountains! My youngest is glad she’s not in Asheville right now. She was in Edinburgh this weekend and said it was practically balmy in comparison to the temps in the Appalachians!

  • Becke says:


    My dh wrapped all presents for our adoptive family yesterday. However, we deliver the gifts to the warehouse the first week of December and we like the charity work completed so we only have to think about family gifts.

    I’m working on turkey day, but only because we are traveling to NC and my daughter has a different idea of how to equip her kitchen!

    And a cruise? Yahoo. Enjoy.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Becke, I DO love all the volunteer opportunities around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I must say. I think it’s grounding to commit time to doing for others rather than, say, shopping Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving!

      I adore Thanksgiving and even though working for hours in the kitchen (especially not your OWN kitchen) seems like “work,” it’s great to be with your family. You guys will have such fun!

      I’ll be in Charlotte at my mom’s, as usual, so we’ll see how that shapes up. We picked most everything up from Whole Foods a couple of years ago and it was really wonderful. We were all a bit wary about it, but it worked out beautifully and the food was really good. Not sure we’ll do that again soon (or ever), but it’s nice to know we have options if we don’t care to spend the entire day in the kitchen some year. 😀

  • JD Allen says:

    Glad you enjoyed the party! and thanks for the effort of the costumes. You guys looked great! I was complaining about the Christmas stuff taking up shelf space for Halloween decor and such! But that’s just me. I’m a Halloween girl.

    I have started the Christmas gift hunt already, but I always do. That way I can finish that task before Thanksgiving. The bonus there is that I am not in the malls, shops, etc. at holiday time. Not big on the crowds.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Thanks for being such a great hostess, JD! We had a great time and your house looked amazing. Halloween everywhere!

      I’ll admit that I, too, generally get an early start on the gift buying. I order lots of things online, so there isn’t much actual “shopping” involved, except for stocking stuffers and things like that. You are smart to get it done early. I am not ever enticed by Black Friday deals! (Though I have leapt on a few Cyber Monday ones. :))

      Still, I want to enjoy all the build-up to Thanksgiving. I certainly don’t mind 50% off Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, but it seems a bit…rushed.

  • Caren, hope the party was fun! We don’t really do Halloween down here although I noticed a few people in costume when I was in the Big Smoke on Friday night. We don’t do Thanksgiving either. I’m beginning to think we’re seriously holiday deprived!

    • Caren Crane says:

      I think Halloween will eventually spread everywhere. It’s an evil plan by the candy and costume manufacturers!

      And, Fosey, you do get ANZAC Day and a few other holidays that we don’t. I think you could create your own Thanksgiving, though. Just wait until autumn, pop a turkey in the oven and tell friends to bring pie. It could be a whole new thing for you! 😀

  • Kym says:

    I like to anticipate Christmas so much that all the gifts are purchased before MLK day (January sales! Woo Hoo!) Then, all I have to worry about is getting the tree up sometime between Thanksgiving and 12/24.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Kym, that is preparation far above and beyond the call of duty! It’s extra-smart, though, to think and shop WAY ahead. I always buy Christmas cards for the next year after Christmas when they are 75% off. Why pay a fortune when you don’t have to? 😀

  • I work in the land of Hallothankmas – Walmart! I had Halloween cupcakes and cookies in the bakery freezer before Labor Day! I was up to my hips in pecan and pumpkin pies two weeks before Halloween. The Christmas decoration shop has taken over the garden center and was set and ready to go two weeks ago.

    I used to LOVE the holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Now I just want to survive them without killing my coworkers or any customers. We are constantly looking at each other and saying “Is it over yet?” which is very, very sad.

    I do make an effort to keep my holiday spirits up. I have a stack of Christmas movie DVD’s and I have a stack of Regency Christmas anthologies and novellas. I start watching and reading the day after Thanksgiving. It helps. This year I have the added bonus of my own Christmas novella coming out in an anthology with three wonderful authors. I’m hoping having my publishing debut around Christmas will give me a new appreciation of the holiday!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Louisa, I feel SO bad for you and the bakery crew. It is insanity at Wal-Mart for every holiday, no matter how small! Having three big ones in three months is bound to be a killer. I know they don’t waste a second of retail time at Wally World, either. It’s been Christmas there for weeks already!

      I hope you get to enjoy Thanksgiving with your family, at least. Are you going to have to go in for any Black-Friday-on-Thursday madness?

      And HOORAY! on your Christmas release! I can’t wait for this one. There is nothing I love more than a Christmas novella. Like you, I stockpile the Christmas movies and books to get myself in the mood as soon as Thanksgiving is past. Otherwise, I would never be motivated to decorate the house!

    • Cassondra says:


      I am so STEALING that, Louisa!

      That’s brilliant!

      I promise to give you credit.

  • Cassondra says:

    Posh, I feel your pain. I barely even noticed Halloween.

    That said, I’m guessing you went to a store like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. And for them, Halloween started in August. They run alongside the florist industry in their timing (I know this because I used to work in said industry)– three months ahead of any given holiday because florist-types and other crafty people need the lead time to get the projects ready for the holiday (or sale before the holiday). That’s why Thanksgiving is already marked down. They need the space to move Christmas into the discount aisle by December 1st. If you don’t have your stuff made by then, you’re too late to sell it, yaknow?

    That said, what I HATE is Christmas in the retail stores in mid-September. For the past few years, around here at least, they had pushed that back a little–I think there was a backlash and they felt it, with customers getting aggravated at Christmas, literally, in July. But this year they started up early again.

    I’m sorry, but no. I want to see Halloween starting in September. Not Christmas. Thanksgiving gets hardly any shelf space anyway, unless it’s a grocery store. But jeepers, I like one holiday at a time!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Cassondra, you make a great point. This was a craft store, so I suppose serious crafters (people diametrically opposed to me in craftiness, let’s say) have to start these things many months in advance. I’m sure if they are just now starting Christmas projects, they are far behind!

      I was a bit dismayed to see they actually had more marked-down Halloween stuff left than they apparently had even gotten in for Thanksgiving. We give Thanksgiving such short shrift these days and it’s a holiday I really love. My favorite holiday. Not that I am buying new tapestry table runners or cuturally-insensitive Native American salt and pepper shakers, but I like to think I could buy a cornucopia basket and make a lovely centerpiece if I was gripped by a sudden bout of craftiness. (Though a more unlikely scenario is hard for me to imagine…)

  • Deb says:

    I love Thanksgiving, but there is no room in the stories for it because they are in too much of a hurry to push Christmas. Hallmark Channel, too. I love Christmas movies, but really would like to wait until around Thanksgiving to watch them. I usually set up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but may do so the weekend before since it comes late this year.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Deb, I’m surprised the Hallmark channel hasn’t taken the opportunity to film some uplifting Thanksgiving movies. What a missed opportunity! I love all those Christmas tales, too, but I really love to enjoy Thanksgiving first!

      I don’t blame you for wanting to get the tree up a bit early. It will already be Nov. 28 if you wait. Not even a month for the tree!

  • catslady says:

    I hate the way everything is rushed. Some places actually have Christmas decorations up!! I have my husband’s birthday, my nephew’s, my best friend’s and then Thanksgiving and then my birthday and the first week of December I’m having my tree trimming party because my one daughter is going on vacation for two weeks. I probably won’t shop until after then – and I’ll be stressed before Christmas arrives!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Catslady, I feel your pain! My mother-in-law, uncle and grandfather all had birthdays in Nov before Thanksgiving, and my mother’s is on the 29th! We have a full slate in December, too. You may have to rush your shopping and decorating a bit to get it all in, but won’t it be nice to take time to observe all those birthdays and Thanksgiving first?

      I hope you get to take your time and can manage the Christmas bustle without getting stressed out!

  • flchen1 says:

    Honestly, at the risk of sounding like Scrooge, I’m not sure why there’s such a huge fuss over Halloween in the first place (it’s fun to see the kids in costume, and sure, who can resist candy?, but really?????) and so that always is a bit of a puzzler for me. I do enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I don’t feel the need for a multi-month lead up to any of these. I know I’ve started seeing Christmas stuff as early as August, and honestly, would prefer it if we stuck to one holiday at a time, preferably for no more than a month in advance of said holiday! Great to “see” you, Caren!