Well, I don’t know how it happened. It’s not like I saw it coming. I didn’t mean for it to happen. But it did. I’ve become the people I hate. It’s not even Halloween, and I’m already thinking about Christmas. Here is a direct quote from a previous Bird Droppings post (11/13/02): “And another thing. I hate it that the malls have all their Christmas stuff up the day after Halloween.” So here I am, a week BEFORE Halloween, and I have Christmas on the brain. Mind you, I’m the type of guy who doesn’t even consider putting on Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, and sometimes, I need a week or so after that. I generally hate the over-commercialization of Christmas. I used to scoff at the stores that seemed to be in such a hurry to put up their Christmas displays. That was before I was on the other side. How could I know that by starting in this direction of comic strip creation and product manufacturing, I would eventually slip into this abyss of retail discombobulation – where it’s Christmas in July and you’re thinking Valentine’s Day before your Thanksgiving turkey coma has had a chance to settle in. Actually, do you know when most larger stores make their purchase decisions for the Christmas season? January. January. In most cases, the holiday season is the busiest and best time of year for retailers. For some stores, it makes or breaks their entire year. And this year is particularly important, as the sluggish economy has put an even greater urgency on the success of this fourth quarter. We’ve talked to many retailers who didn’t make it this far into the year; forced to close their doors and close up shop. The signs show the economy rebounding and a positive outlook for holiday season, which would be like a fresh glass of cold water to a desert-weary traveler. This year, I can finally understand the desire to get those holiday cash registers rolling early. It’s not just a matter of greed, but of necessity. I’ve got a closet-full of Christmas cards and new product inventory waiting to fulfill their dreams of flying (off the shelves, that is). Our holiday promotions are planned, our shipping department is ready, and this is the first year ever that I’ve been the one surprised when people complain about the Christmas season being jump-started too soon. Go figure. So what lesson can I learn from this? Well, for one, the one about the shoe being on the other foot comes to mind…or is it walking in someone else’s shoes…with their feet…you know the one. Secondly, I know I need to just step back and let God take control. Good economy or bad, everything works out for the best…eventually. Thirdly, I may need to think months ahead to be a smart business owner, but I’m still not going to crank up those holiday tunes any earlier than my second helping of pumpkin pie.