When I lived up north, particularly in Detroit, November, basically, was winter. Not so in the piedmont of North Carolina. On November 1st, the leaves are still pretty, heavy raking is still in the future, and there are usually a number of warm, sunny days to go. There's plenty of time for planting pansies and bulbs. For us, it's a relatively peaceful month.
Thanksgiving, however, usually signals the change from fall to the shopping season. Black Friday is gradually oozing its way into Thanksgiving. More and more days of the week have shopping names. Black Friday is followed by Buy Local Saturday, and Cyber-Monday. Oh, and for those of us non-holiday shoppers, the Feast of Christ the King was on Sunday. Also, on another note, today is Giving Tuesday.
Shopping was a major focus of Facebook discussions last weekend. One site I follow even asked what was the best deal I got on Black Friday.
Having daughter home for five days was the best deal, of course. My sister and her family were also here over the holiday - there was no way I was doing any shopping over Thanksgiving. Though, really, now that I think of it, spending time with family, doing things outside, and maybe taking in a new movie (I loved Rise of the Guardians) have been the ways we've celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend for years. I can't see ever replacing that with shopping.
Looking at the calendar on November 1st made me grumpy. Thanksgiving was the earliest it can be this year - November 22. Only three short weeks of November fall enjoyment, and then the focus is on shopping. I'd lost beautiful days of November.
I've decided not. I usually start my shopping on the first Monday of Advent. Often, that's the Monday after Thanksgiving. This year, there's a week between the two. I don't have to start shopping just because Thanksgiving is over. Advent starts next Sunday. I have another week (almost) of non-commercial November left. Younger son and I are going to rake leaves every day, and dear husband and I are going to plant bulbs. It looks like next weekend will be good weather for that.
Next Monday, I'll start a frantic round of preparations (while trying to make time for exercise and for relaxation exercises). For better or worse, I'm going to be done by December 12th. Older son will be done with exams that week, and we'll go up to Asheville to bring daughter home from college - after wandering around Asheville to look at decorations.
Older son is a senior in college. This is his last long Christmas break at home. I absolutely will be done by the 12th.
I didn't want a super-Christmas-y photo for this post, but I did want to post something from our Asheville trip last year. This photo is of a decorated, espaliered tree in the Biltmore House Conservatory.
Next year, however, Thanksgiving is on November 28th - the latest it can be.
That's more like it.