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I love the Christmas holiday season. However, something happened earlier in November that took me by surprise.
As I was flipping through radio stations while driving to my parents on Nov. 6,  I came across a Twin Cities station offering non-stop Christmas music. I about drove off the road with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.
It seems like Christmas keeps creeping up earlier and earlier every year, which, I guess, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a little shock to the system when your mind is still focused on fall colors and apple orchards and suddenly Christmas is being blasted in front of you.
I’m quite content with the Christmas season starting the day after Thanksgiving. It seems like it should be etched on calendars that the holiday season officially begins on the last Friday of November (the day after Thanksgiving).
I took great satisfaction in finding out that many large retailers pulled back from allowing holiday shopping on Thanksgiving as they had done for several years. Some have gone to the extreme, saying they will never be open on Thanksgiving again. That’s as it should be. A few years back, I blasted those same retailers for taking precious time away from families to make a few extra bucks.
Now that we are officially into the holiday season, at least by my account, there are many great opportunities taking place throughout the region for the holidays. I encourage you to read about many of the events in our newspaper in the coming weeks.
There are too many holiday events to acknowledge in this column individually, but I would like to draw attention to a couple of them.
Blooming Prairie police officer Dan Peach kicks off his “Have a Very Prairie Christmas” on Wednesday. Peach is offering holiday magic at the empty downtown lot. I’ve heard rumors Santa may even show up Saturday afternoon. The rest of the magic runs through the end of December.
Another holiday favorite takes place in downtown Owatonna Thursday night. The lighted holiday parade will wind through downtown, followed by carolers and the official tree lighting at Central Park.
And next Thursday, Dec. 9, Beth Fink and the rest of her neighbors on 16th Street S.E. in Owatonna will be hosting their own holiday fun with lights, decorations, music, Santa Claus and treats for all those who drive through the neighborhood.
Fink started the holiday parade last year during COVID-19 when her youngest son identified it as a random act of kindness. Oh, what comes out of the minds of 6-year-olds!
My staff and I are working on our own Christmas surprise for readers. You’ll find it in our Dec. 22 edition.
While I may have been turned off slightly a month ago with all this holiday hoopla, I’m certainly now in hot pursuit of going full steam ahead with the holidays. Look out, Mr. Grinch.

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