Yes, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays | AspenTimes.com

Yes, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays

by barbara platts

Last weekend, I spent two brief days in Sin City. If you've read my column before, you probably know I have a strange fondness for Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. I go there several times a year, tagging along with my boyfriend who often has film gigs there. This time around, we were with family, fully indulged in some of the touristy sightseeing that is necessary for those who aren't super familiar with The Vegas.

This column isn't about Las Vegas, although I could write about that city any time and not run out of stories to tell. Anyway, as I was saying, the point isn't Vegas. But the trip there helped remind me of where we currently sit on the calendar year. See, the thing about the hotels on the Strip is they're always a step ahead when it comes to occasions to celebrate. Even before we rung in 2018 (the year of the dog on the Chinese calendar) elaborate dog-shaped structures filled hotel lobbies from the Venetian to the Wynn. And don't even get me started on those intense Christmas decorations that come around Thanksgiving time each year.

This time around, in the midst of September when the average midday temperature was in the 90s, Vegas already had Halloween and fall decorations galore setup for guests to gawk at. There were plump pumpkins, bright orange and yellow leaves, at least two talking trees, one stuffed fox, and several fairies to welcome in fall, which officially started Saturday, Sept. 22.

Even in the hot desert, it's obvious: The holidays are fast approaching, and the countdown is on.

For those who enjoy dressing like someone else and eating unhealthy amounts of candy, there's only five weeks left until Halloween. Aisles in grocery stores have been taken over by bags of sweets, costume accessories and spooky, strange outdoor decorations that will probably be used once and then go to storage for the duration of their lives. Plus, temporary signs are being hung up on nearly every abandoned storefront that read, "Halloween Headquarters" or "Halloween Store." If you're having trouble choosing a costume, it seems like some of the popular ideas floating around this year include Tonya Harding from I, Tonya, any type of '90s getup, an ABBA-inspired disco outfit, a favorite Star Wars character, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Frida Kahlo and Wonder Woman.

If you like a good wholesome, hearty meal of yams, poultry, cranberry sauce, baked vegetables and a thick layer of gravy covering pretty much everything (drool), then you may find it comforting to know that Turkey Day is only about eight weeks out.

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I know these countdowns I'm providing feel like forever away, but the season is looming, whether we like it or not. Even though we're barely to Halloween, winter holiday shopping is already starting. According to a report from Criteo, a personalized retargeting company, deals will start showing up in stores as early as October. When you start seeing those deals everywhere — and you will — try not to panic just yet. We still have 13 weeks of shopping to go until Christmas. However, if you celebrate Hannukah, you may have to start buying slightly early. The holiday this year starts on Dec. 2, giving celebrants just over 10 weeks to prepare.

And, of course, we can't forget the most overrated holiday of them all. New Year's Eve is 13 weeks out. Although this holiday doesn't take as much prep as Thanksgiving or Christmas, it's still important to book your parties, find the appropriate attire and start cooking up a fitting resolution for 2019. And, to indulge heavily before your resolution goes into effect, of course.

I don't mean to be a downer about holiday time. There are many good things that come from it, like getting to spend quality time with loved ones, deliciously indulgent meals, and general revelry and cheer. But it's a lot to add on to our already hectic lives, so it's good to be prepared before we arrive in the thick of the holiday madness.

And, if all of this talk of holidays feels overwhelming, then I'll end on this comforting note: In just over 13 weeks, it'll all be over and we can return to our normally complicated lives.

At least until Valentine's Day …

Barbara Platts has a love-hate relationship with the fall and winter holidays. Reach her at bplatts.000@gmail.com or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.

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