At Costco, the Christmas season starts sometime just before Halloween. I find it amazingly irritating to listen to piped in carols and skirt past giant inflatable snowfamily menageries, especially when it's 80 degrees outside. It dampens the spirit of Christmas, this pressure to start shopping, get it done, buy more.
At home, the kids are bombarded with huge glossy catalogues and a constant barrage of tempting commercial promises. They always make a list for Santa that generally represents the toys promoted in whichever dozen commercials have been most recently viewed.
Next year my boy will be 10. This could be our last year for magic, the last year that his Christmas list will be submitted with the trembling hope of expectation and wonder, and the image of its recipient's careful consideration of each request.
You can see the care that my boy took care with his list this year. He handed this to me and said: "I don't expect to get everything on this". It is just so quintessentially him - and everychild.
My small heart grew three sizes that day.