The Christmas frenzy came early this year. Long before Black Friday my email overflowed with people wanting me to spend money at their stores. Even my dentist is begging me to get something – anything – done to my teeth in time for the holidays. Tis the season!

I responded to Land’s End’s frantic 55% Off and Free Shipping! emails by ordering a bunch of stuff I don’t need, since I have nowhere to go. No holiday parties, no nights at the theater, no restaurants with old friends I haven’t seen since March. But just in case, I ordered a red sweater – they were practically giving it away. Also some cotton zip-up sweatshirt things to stay warm while I clean closets. I’ll wrap these items and give them to myself for Christmas. That way I’ll at least get a few presents I won’t have to return.

My husband does the same thing. Several packages have already arrived with those stretchy polyester sports shirts he always wears. He puts them in drawers until I get the tree up, then he’ll wrap umpteen boxes with tags on them that say “to MLH from YLW” (To My Loving Husband, From Your Loving Wife).

It’s the thought that counts.

We’re still in November but already people have turned their outside Christmas lights on. I realize that some never took them down from last year (my mother would have called that “tacky”), but others had their houses lit up like Santa-land even before Thanksgiving. Before Thanksgiving! As my grandmother would have said, “What is this world coming to?”

I think we are all stir crazy from being inside so much, isolated from normal activities during this season of friendly gatherings. I spent all day yesterday making butter toffee and cashew brittle to give as gifts – something I usually don’t do that until the second or third week in December. But the candy lasts forever in the refrigerator, so why not go ahead and get it done? Especially since I can never remember how to make it and end up throwing a lot of sugar and butter away that got overcooked (burned) or didn’t set up right (the butter separates after the hot candy is poured onto a cookie sheet, making it greasy). Last weekend I made four batches of each. The butter toffee got slightly burned and the cashew butter was greasy. Both tasted great, but not good enough for gifts. Yesterday the candy turned out – only a little burned, only a little greasy. Good enough. 

Today, even though it’s still November, I’m going to get all those Christmas tubs off the high shelf in the garage while my husband is here to help – one of us will have to go up a ladder – and in December put all that old junk around the house because it makes me happy. Yes, yes, I will be sick of looking at it by Christmas, but in these crazy times I’ll take my happiness today and let tomorrow worry about itself.

Besides, a lot of packages will arrive soon that need to be wrapped. And the tree put up. I’ve seen a lot of Christmas trees strapped to the top of people’s cars already – even before Thanksgiving! (so tack – oh, never mind). Last night I saw decorated Christmas trees in people’s picture windows. Lots of trees. IN NOVEMBER!

Who can blame them? I don’t want a fire hazard in my house, but I bet I’ll trudge through a muddy Christmas tree farm miles from my house (they’re cheaper) and have a tree in my living room within the next week, especially if the sun comes out.  

But it will be December then, and that’s, technically, okay.