Santa will be coming down your chimney before we know it.

December is always a hectic month, but this year it will be especially stressful, because there are only three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Of course, some people have been Christmas shopping since October and Christmas decorations have adorned the outside of a few homes since before Thanksgiving.

But if you haven’t put up those lights, you’d better get with it, because you only have 21 days before Santa comes down the chimney. Get that ladder out.

The first three weeks of December always seem to pass quickly. There is never enough time to get done what we need to get done, or so we think. But usually it all does get done despite our worries.

The last week of December always seems longer than the first three weeks, at least to me. Everything was frantic for three weeks and that last week is a letdown with nothing much to do.

It’s too early to take down the Christmas decorations and there is no need to go shopping, unless you want to make exchanges. So, you just sit around and wonder what to do.

Television is no help, because there is usually nothing on but some meaningless college football bowl games and, if the truth be known, even the participants in those games would probably rather be home with their families during the holidays.

The holidays. Some people get all bent out of shape when they hear “happy holidays.” They claim this greeting is almost sacrilegious, that we should be saying “Merry Christmas.”

What they fail to realize is that there are two (more in other cultures) holidays during the end of December—Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Sometimes we need to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. “Happy holidays” doesn’t necessarily mean that one is not showing proper reverence for Christmas.

Christmas comes on a Wednesday this year—the worst possible day. If you manage a business, what days off do you give employees? If you close on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, traditional off days for most workers, you wind up being open only Monday and Friday.

What’s the point in that? Nothing will likely get done Monday because employees will be too excited about the coming holiday, and Friday, they’ll just be dragging. You might as well close the whole week.

This is especially true of government offices. Very little is ever accomplished during the nine days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Many workers add vacation days to their holiday time off so they don’t have to come in at all. If you want to conduct government business during the holidays, you may find yourself out of luck.

The best thing about December is that now we can realistically look for snow. January and February make for the best blizzards, but we’ve had a few good snows in December over the years.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up, though. This winter has started off much as I predicted three months ago—too warm to snow and too cold to enjoy the outside.

Then, there are the clouds. Much of November was cool, cloudy and damp. There was not a lot of rain, but it was cloudy and miserable just the same. I have a feeling that December—and really this whole winter—will continue in this manner.

High school and college basketball shift into high gear this month, and it is crunch time in the NFL as playoff season approaches.

Following your local high school team can get you out of the house a couple of evenings a week and college hoops on TV can keep you entertained on other cold, rainy nights.

Of course, I’d rather have a good blizzard to keep me entertained, you know, one of those storms with three feet of snow, 15-degree temperatures and 25 mph winds. I’ve already had my fireplace glowing on a number of raw November evenings and I’m looking forward to many more warm fires in December. My woodpile is high.

I’ll stop here, because I know you want to get out there in those crowded stores and do your Christmas shopping. As I said, you don’t have that much time this year.

Have fun.

Donnie Johnston:

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