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Dawns Column - Pumpkins And Pine Trees
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It’s the middle of December and I still have pumpkins on my front doorstep.

Yes, my house is the one with a cornucopia of pumpkins and bumpy, striped squashes in various colors up the front walk – and a welcome mat with snowmen on it.

It’s become somewhat commonplace to see Christmas décor on display at Thanksgiving time in the stores. Because of circumstances, I’ll be going against the grain and having some of my Thanksgiving décor still on display at Christmas.

This odd combination of dual holiday décor is a result of being able to only juggle so much at a time. I think that having a very late November Thanksgiving added to this holiday mishmash.

So the question is: do I take the time to get ready for Christmas or spend it on the take down and packing away of the previous holiday? It’s an easy choice – I’m making it work and adding to what’s already there. You’ve got to work with the time you’ve got.

So far, I’ve managed to squeeze in a day of power shopping for presents and squeezed in some Christmas decorations between the fall bounty and colored leaves. I have to give a sizable amount of credit to my husband here. While I pulled a lot of the Christmas décor out of storage, he’s the one who put up most of it.

So we’ve got pumpkins and pine trees at the same time. So what?

Trying to catch up with Christmas has been a challenge for me this year. It’s not like it snuck up on me. I knew it was coming – after all, one of my satellite radio stations has been playing Christmas songs since early November. Listening to that music during my work commute has been like that little escape to the land of Christmas spirit. I haven’t bought Christmas cards yet, but I’ve managed to get a Charlie Brown tree put up on my desk at work.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels like I’m hurtling through the holidays like an asteroid through space. One of my colleagues asked where the time is to stop and smell the roses this year. I totally understand what she means, as I would like to stop and smell the peppermint and gingerbread myself.

It’s good to know there are others out there like me.

With time flying by, it makes it a challenge to see all that’s around you and just enjoy it. I know, I know, it’s important to pause long enough to look around and appreciate the good stuff.

I remember a recent conversation with a couple of other women and we were talking about holiday shopping. One of the women really enjoys the shopping and the other is not a fan of it, she’s more task-minded. I’ve turned into a combination of the two. I really enjoy browsing and shopping and at a different time in my life I had time to do that – and oh, how I’d love to have the time for that again. Now, it’s like I’m on a mission. It’s tactical. There’s no time to browse, it’s time to get in there, make the buy and get out. Believe me, there’s no time to stop and smell the perfumes – unless there’s a specific one on someone’s wish list.

This year, the smell of pumpkins and pine will have to do. I just hope it’s not around to compete with hearts and flowers in February.


Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.