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Staring down the barrel of Christmas - Michael Davis

So here we are. If you're reading this, you likely made it through another Thanksgiving relatively unscathed.

But what's next? What now?

Well, Christmas is next, and you'd better be ready this time.

Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on you, didn't it? It's like that cat in your friend's apartment or that kid from down the street with a water balloon. You don't know it's there until it's there. And by then, you're either covered in fur or soaked through your sweater with water and splattered with the red, rubber remnants of a high-powered hydro grenade.

You weren't ready for Thanksgiving and you made it - if only with your wits left intact.

But it's only a month until jolly ol' St. Nick is shimmying down your chimney. That's 30 days from today to make ready your entry and exit strategies for going to the family's and doing the rigmarole of other holiday gatherings. Office parties. Popping into the Johnson's for the obligatory egg nogg and to watch little Joanie's Christmas recital on a home-made DVD.

The Thanksgiving wind-down is a luxury you now can't afford. If you let turkey day sneak up on you like that, you've already wasted too much time. You've already proven that you can't let holidays with the weight and gravity of Christmas be ignored until the last minute and tidied up with a quick jaunt to the mall and the super-duper big box store that sells toilet paper across the aisle from riding lawn mowers.

It may already be too late to get started.

There is still so much left to do. The holiday is churning out there in the ocean of family, friends, co-workers and utter strangers, picking up strength and taking dead aim on your beach-front condo with the hammock on the porch.

Not much left to do now but board up, batten down and get used to eating Vienna sausages by candle light until the cavalry arrives with extra batteries for your nephew's remote controlled car.

You can hope Christmas, category 2005, turns right a bit and the authorities don't start closing down your favorite tiki bar hideout with too many hours left in the day, but don't count on it.

So my advice to you in this column: If you've waited this long to get going, you might as well give up now, scale back, and ride it out until the next one comes. Maybe by then, you will have learned a thing or two about the holidays.

Michael Davis covers government for the Daily Herald. His column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at mdavis@henryherald.com .