The holiday season is upon us. The malls and the stores are all decorated with their Christmas finery, and Santa is there greeting all the boys and girls. Carols are playing and gingerbread is baking. The only issue is that it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Every year it seems that merchants and advertisers are making the Christmas holiday season longer and more deliberately in your face. When I was growing up, the official Christmas shopping season did not begin until after Thanksgiving. The turkey was carved, and the trimmings were packed away in the refrigerator when the shopping lists would come out. The first time we would see Santa was in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. He would be making his way to the department stores for all the good boys and girls to visit. In Philadelphia, Santa climbed a fire truck ladder into the Gimbels’ Department Store at the conclusion of the parade. This was the official start of the holiday season.