This. This is the day when you can start the Christmas Countdown: When the tree at Rockefeller Center goes up. Not before Thanksgiving, and certainly not before Halloween. And yet, at the end of October, I was in the laundromat waiting for the dryer cycle to finish when I started counting the number of times the word "Christmas" was crooned at me on the light-fm station. I got 85 in 20 minutes.
The holiday season is doing it's darnedest to subsume the entire calendar, and some people like to call this Christmas Creep. It seems unfair, though, to connect the birth of Jesus with the mobs of knuckleheads clamoring into a Best Buy at 5am. Instead, I prefer Red Cup Creep.
You know what I'm talking about. They're synonymous with mass retailing, and that coffee company trots them out earlier every year. This year, the official start date was November 1, probably the absolute earliest time they could pick without starting a formal outcry from people who don't want to see Christmas images before they've bought their tubs of fun-sized Snickers. The cups stay long after the new year as well, meaning that the holiday season is now, officially, more than 1/6 of the year! (In a related story, I now have 7 birthdays.)
There is one silver lining to all this. Now, at least, winter has a nice set of book-ends: Red Cups at the beginning, and Brown Shorts at the end -- and thanks to global warming, those come out earlier every year, too.