Christmas may still be a speck on the horizon; there are still days of remembering and Thanksgiving between then and now. Yet, the signs are here. Retailers have stocked their shelves with festive items while promotions for the holiday season are underway.
When it comes to Christmas preparation one word typically has applied to me. That would be 'early'. Though I wait to decorate until after Remembrance Day, I do like to transform my home into a place of snowmen and Santas soon after.
As well, I like to start shopping months ahead of most other folks, a practice I began decades ago. Initially the reason was financial. As a young married with small children I found it put far less strain on my limited budget if I whittled away at the list, rather than try to purchase it all in one or two outings closer to Christmas. I continued to do so later as I found it appealed to my need for a de-cluttered mind, as names were checked off.
Another early jump on the holidays is my family celebration. Several years ago, my siblings and I recognized that the festive season is busy enough with commitments and parties. We acknowledged that the really important thing is to get together, not the when. We opted for an early November gathering, which this year is this weekend.
I applaud my brother, sister and their spouses for agreeing that this is the way to do it. With hours of driving separating us and our children, with so many other demands on personal time during the busy days in December, it's nice to know that we have found a way to bring as many of us together as possible for a day.
To paraphrase the late American psychologist Joyce Brothers, some of the greatest happinesses in life have been family happinesses. We are rooted in, and root for, family. They rally support when you need it, circle the wagons to protect you. When you are distressed, you can find comfort in the open arms of family.
So as I look ahead to a weekend with the people whose tie to me is stronger than water, as we all think of the holidays, I hope you enjoy these collections of family-themed photos