It’s the first day of December as I write this. Christmas is exactly 24 days away. Friends and neighbors have begun, and in many cases completed, astounding Christmas masterpieces both inside and outside their homes that are worthy of placement in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From downtown storefronts to countryside hay bales, our entire community is adorned and ready to celebrate the holiday with decorations and lights that wink, blink, twinkle, sparkle, flash and glow.

My Halloween decorations are still on my front porch.

I’m toying with the idea of placing a white beard and Santa hat on the three-foot-tall witch, exchanging her broom for a burlap bag stuffed with used vacuum sweeper bags and hanging a sign on her that says “Ho-Ho-Ho!” Her long, pointed nose presents a bit of a challenge, but I think the red clown nose I’ve smashed on it will solve the problem.

It’s not that I don’t love Christmas and all it stands for. I just can’t, personally, get thrilled about taking down and packing away one set of decorations from one holiday and immediately dragging out and unpacking different boxes and bags for the next one.

Maybe if the last three months of the year weren’t so crammed with seasonal days that have become a marathon of shopping, planning, cooking, decorating, gourmet family dinners, and parties that each require special treats and/or gifts that leave you exhausted and bankrupt, I could handle it. But it doesn’t work that way. You just roll or limp whimpering from one mammoth celebration into the next without time for even a good, healing nervous breakdown in between.

The first bearers of the madness ahead are the retail businesses and TV commercials. The onslaught of things-to-come advertisements and embellishments quickly follow the back-to-school mania in August with a small showing of an item or two or four for Halloween in early-September.

When I was a kid, Halloween consisted of scrounging through the old clothes and/or rag bag to put together a costume. If you were lucky and the family was a little flush, you got a store-bought mask to wear and a fresh pumpkin was either purchased or picked from the garden to be carved into a Jack-O’Lantern. You were shoved out the door to join the various other ghosts, hobos, witches and raggedly attired children to go trick-or treating around the neighborhood, carrying an old pillowcase for your loot.

The loot gathered usually consisted of a small, wrapped piece of hard store-bought or homemade candy, a cookie or two and an occasional penny. That was it. Except for the time one neighbor got creative and dropped a six-week-old kitten into each bag held by a wide-eyed child.

Somehow, Thanksgiving has almost become squeezed out, placed as it is between the frenzy of Halloween and Christmas. You no more than eat the last stale Snickers bar, than your nose-to-nose with Thanksgiving preparations, different pumpkin decorations, and off for another round of shopping, cooking, table decorating and serving the traditional turkey and trimmings dinner!

In the meantime, retailers and ads have smoothly made the transition from Halloween into Christmas, with a small nod to Thanksgiving mostly on the cooking shows. Christmas ornaments, gift ideas and reminders of Black Fridays, Small Saturdays, and Cyber (?) Mondays coming up begin the day after Halloween! I heard the first Christmas carol in a store back on the first day of November!!!

What it all boils down to is that the consumer is under constant attack from August through the end of December with ads and inducements to “SPEND MONEY!" I’m a tad fed up with it. By now, the only thing flatter than my Christmas spirit is my billfold!

In case you think, you’re in the clear for a year… think again. Tucked among your Christmas cards and sales catalogs is a nice reminder from the IRS that tax time is hovering, like Scrooge, to scoop up your last pennies. And they don’t even bother with a friendly carved pumpkin, turkey or reindeer logo greeting. They just know that you know that IRS means business. Big-Brother Government business. No wrapping or ribbons necessary…just send the check!

And my Halloween witch and pumpkins are still sitting on my front porch.

Around Town

Dennis and Pattie Smith had a busy Thanksgiving week. Pattie's daughter from Oxford, UK was visiting with her children (Karina, Lauren, Olivia, & Nathan). Son Jacob is driving in from Maryland, and Sara, locally, will be in and out over the week with her family! Kristina and the kids got to see their first basketball game as Sara's daughter Olivia Lugo and team won their first game at the Cape Notre Dame JV Tourney Monday evening. Best wishes go to Dennis and Pattie who also celebrated their 42nd anniversary that same week!

Congratulations go out to Albert and Karen Cleve who came home from traveling with their Blue Ribbon Belles Percherons in time to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary on Nov. 29th with their family. Sincere best wishes go to them for many more happy years together.

For those who have dreams of themselves gracefully covering an ice rink to the Skaters Waltz, now’s your chance. Even if you look more like one of the Three Stooges on skates, it’s a wonderful time for family and friends to enjoy some fun outdoor exercise. The Farmington Ice Skating Rink is now open facing College Street on the north end of the Public Library parking lot. The synthetic ice rink is provided by the Farmington Board of Tourism and will be open 7 days a week through January 5th.

Following that, the rink will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Feb. 29th. Open skate times are 5-9 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon-9 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. It’s free to skate, and if you don’t have your own skates, they are available to rent at $2 a pair. For more information call 756-0900.

Coming Up

Monday, Dec. 12: Women’s Connection “Christmas Showcase“ from 9:15 - 11 a.m. at the Farmington Presbyterian Church Tea Room on Columbia at the Casey Street entrance. The program will feature Christmas memories of the past shared by guests. The speaker for the programs is Anita Agers-Brooks of Steelville, Missouri, who is an inspirational business/life coach, certified personality trainer and award winning author. She will address some profound life questions in her presentation, “Living Our Exceedingly Abundant Purpose.” Reservations and any cancellations are required for the $10 Brunch. Call 573-747-3854 or 358-1264.

Saturday, Dec. 21: The Annual Cookie & Candy Sale by the Memorial United Methodist Women will be held in the large church parlor from 8 a.m. to noon. Quilts will also be on display.

Monday, December 23: Farmington Monday Night Band presents a Christmas Dance Party FREE at the Farmington OAKS Senior Center. Dinner is at 5 p.m. and the dance begins at 6 p.m.

The local United Way Christmas Bell Ringers are now manning the donation stands at various stores around the county. Be certain to stop and drop in a dollar or two. All funds go to benefit county charitable organizations!

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