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And so it begins.

No sooner did use my thumbnail to scrape a dribble of turkey gravy off my sweater, than — WHOMP! — the Christmas hoopla hit me like a freight train.

On Thanksgiving Day, it was perfectly acceptable, nay encouraged, to laze around all day in a tryptophan-induced haze, gorging myself on the day’s feast while watching football and glancing noncommittally at a puzzle. But then, less than 12 hours later, a starter pistol was fired, officially signaling the 2018 Holiday Rat Race.

Quite suddenly, and beyond my will, I am expected to run around with a purpose, when all I want to do is nibble leftover pie and play Banangrams with our kids.

This frenzy begins earlier every year, with “Black Friday” now so diluted with early shopping deals, it has become “Grey November.” Nowadays, Christmas commercials, moving window displays, and pyramids of fruitcakes and candy canes show up right after Halloween. The turkey carcass hasn’t even been tossed before elves appear on shelves, bell ringers with red kettles show up at storefronts, and Bing Crosby croons Mele Kalikimaka.

Thanksgiving, an event commemorating the blessings of harvest and fellowship is overlooked, lost in the cranberry sauce, squished into one lousy day. (Well, less than a day if you planned to make the Doorbuster Deal at Macy’s.) The prim Pilgrims and drab turkeys don’t stand a chance against the glitter, glam and consumerism of the Christmas season.

Must we accept this new normal? Did our culture shift? Is it beyond our control?

Can’t we delay the frenzy for a day or two? Why are we in such a rush to hit malls and department stores, which have become Caligula-era Coliseums where otherwise mild-mannered citizens use shopping carts like crashing chariots in an epic battle to get that last Fitbit Alta?

Why don’t we savor a few more days before the annual hemorrhage of our wallets, when we fall prey to pressures to buy a gift for every Tom, Dick, Harry and school janitor? Why not delay the inevitable guilt that comes when we buy something for ourselves when we were supposed to be shopping for Aunt Gertrude?

Can’t we all agree to wait a bit longer, before our neighbors attempt to turn the street into the Las Vegas Strip by wrapping their houses in more twinkle lights than the Andromeda Galaxy, lining their sidewalks with plastic candy canes, and adorning their front yards with giant blow up snow globes?

Shouldn’t we rest up before throngs of kids we don’t recognize, but who claim to be from our neighborhoods, and who won’t take “no” for an answer, show up on our doorsteps asking us to buy rolls of wrapping paper, tubs of cookie dough, tins of caramel corn, cans of ham, jars of scented candles, kitchen gadgets, poinsettias and wreaths?

Soon, our mailboxes will be stuffed with piles of holiday cards containing three-page update letters chronicling every significant and insignificant event in the lives of people – and pets -- we haven’t seen in years. We will soon have to juggle multiple invites to family holiday parties, school holiday parties, work holiday parties, neighborhood holiday parties, cookie exchanges, secret Santa gift exchanges, elementary school holiday choral concerts, high school holiday drama productions, and middle school holiday band concerts (ear plugs not included). So why not relax and enjoy the weekend?

Shouldn’t we nibble turkey leftovers for two more days, before our bodies begin their slow transformation from reasonably unhealthy to alarming levels of egg-nog-triggered-cholesterol and Christmas-cookie-induced diabetes? Personally, I’d like to put off the rapid expansion of my thighs for as long as possible, for fear that they will cause so much friction I’ll spontaneously combust if I walk too fast in my favorite corduroys.

Can’t we all just agree to savor Thanksgiving for two more days, for the love of Santa!?

With such a short time left before the chaos begins, let’s use this time to preemptively rest, relax, and brace for the inevitable holiday onslaught we all know is just around the corner.

Take heed, take stock, take two days. And don’t call anyone in the morning.

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