Looks like 2003 is shaping up to be the year that the U.S. culture decided to completely jump straight from Halloween to Christmas and the holiday season the very next day. When I was a kid in the fifties, Christmas holiday festivities and decor seemed to materialize about mid-December. As years went by, that got pushed back until just after Thanksgiving. Then department stores started in late September in the ninties, but this year I have really seen a full cultural move toward what I call full bore Christams activities even BEFORE Thanksgiving! For example, posh Wellington Green Mall brought Santa in LAST WEEKEND, a full two weeks before Turkey Day!! Private neighborhood homes are beginning to display Christams lights now! Upscale City Place in West Palm Beach has their main Christams tree fully decorated and lit. Some nearby parks have their Christmas and Hannuka displays up. Heck, my condo association lit their holiday lights this weekend. It is unreal! The holiday season has gone from two or three weeks to over two months. Maybe that's not all bad. I love holiday lights and decorations, but I'm not even ready for Thankgsgiving yet. I can see why department stores want a long and early holiday season, but why are private and government entities starting so soon now? Have our customs and traditions really changed dramatically and why? Could it be that it takes so long to put up our ever-more elaborate decorations, that we might as well get them up and leave them up for weeks and weeks?