1.  We made it through Halloween and into November which means it’s time for my annual realization: holy sh*t, those folks who’ve been Christmas shopping since Labor Day might not be so nuts after all. It’s a sobering thought. Not one that will alter my behavior in 2020, sadly, but a sobering thought nonetheless. All that’s left to do is look for ways to maintain my November/December sanity.

2.  Please don’t ask if I’ve started my Christmas shopping. I haven’t. I did remember I have to mail several items this year so I’d best get on it, but otherwise? Just don’t ask. I haven’t started.

3.  This month I will not be listening to the local all Christmas music, all the time radio station shenanigans. If you tune in while I’m riding in your car I’ll consider it a hostage situation and take evasive measures.

4.  Evasive measures may or may not include me diving headlong from your vehicle at the next stoplight.

5.  I actually love Christmas. Really, I’m all about the holiday spirit. But if your home is already decked out in wreaths and lights you can be damn sure we’re mocking you.

6.  I’m looking at you, house at the entrance. And you, too, house on the street with the weird stop sign. Christmas stuff up the day after Halloween?? For the love.

7.  If you’ve decided to surprise your precious angel with a Ferrari or Porsche on Christmas morning I’m begging you – BEGGING you – no hints. No clues designed to hype up the Big Surprise because trust me, it’ll pack enough punch as is. But you keeping that gift under wraps saves me the extra month of hearing my kid wax poetic about the sooooooo cool parents that, you know, aren’t us.

8.  I’m unwilling to engage in the tinsel-garland-bare tree debate until November 29th. I will happily discuss the mashed versus sweet potato issue until then, though.

9.  No, I haven’t thought about taking the kids to a parade of lights or a parade of homes or a Christmas parade or any other sort of chain event. We’re just trying to get through report cards, people.

10.  Our lives have entered their annual balancing act. These are days of precarious calendar keeping and obligation juggling, a time when sanity gets stretched thin then bounces back to recover. So it would really, really help if I could get, say, more than two days’ notice for class parties, donations, meetings – you know, anything that requires effort and participation on my part. It’s a balancing act, folks, and it doesn’t take much to send all these spinning plates crashing to the floor.