Now that Halloween is over, the winter holidays have officially started. Although Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Lowes, and every other box store thought the Christmas season started in August.
When I was a kid, Halloween was always a blast. Weeks earlier, my mom would start suggesting custom ideas for me and my five siblings. It was quite a process since those were the days we made our customs vs. the ease of scrolling on the Amazon webpage, and we definitely did not have warehouses full of Halloween customs to walk through. My mom could never sew gladiator outfits with helmets and swords and certainly not a princess dress complete with a lighted skirt.
What I like most about Halloween, besides running around like a madman trying to fill my pillowcase full of candy, is the next day, which is the beginning of the 60 happiest days of the year.
The holiday season is a memorable time because almost everything changes. After “hot August nights” of long sunny days, the next four months (west coast) begin a period of colder, shorter, and darker days. Besides dramatic weather changes, color schemes give way to reds and greens, along with the fragrance of apple cider and pumpkin spice. We can’t forget the fat guy in a red suit along with heard once-a-year holiday music. The winter season is the complete antithesis of the previous summer season of skimpy summer outfits, outdoor activities, early sunrises, and warm mornings. The holiday season is almost as much fun for adults who vicariously experience the magic of holidays through their kids. Added benefits are the extra holiday vacation days that give way to family and friend parties and time to meet for hot coffee on cold mornings.
November is dominated by the planning and preparation of Thanksgiving.
A great day of bringing family and friends together, rearranging the house to seat a house full of people, and fall decorations. Our family tradition is once we can start moving after Thanksgiving dinner, we end the day by going to the movies to watch the newest release (Fast and Furious XXVIII).
All of this is just the precursor to the main event, Christmas! It’s game on for all retailers, especially considering this year’s holiday sales are predicted to be similar to or slightly better than 2022. As turkey leftovers are cooling in the refrigerator, retailers, and marketing campaigns will be in full force. Early signs of the potential for holiday sales will be indicated by activity at stores on Black Friday and on the internet on Black Monday. My wife and I have learned to mitigate the anxiety of holiday shopping by buying gifts throughout the year, which has allowed us to enjoy the season so much better. Our only anxiousness now is trying to remember where we hid the presents months earlier. Another key is getting the presents wrapped early. I can’t tell you how many Christmas Eve we spent wrapping presents and assembling bikes or Playskool structures until the early hours in the morning. We learn slowly. Now, the stakes are even higher to be ready for our ten grandkids.
The anticipation of getting presents as kids are now replaced with the joy of watching others open our gifts to them. It’s a great time to express your love and appreciation. Ideally, this should be a time to complement a year of doing life together. Even if this year was not a great time for connecting with your friends and family, the holidays are a time of a “free pass” to reconnect and rebuild friendships. Take advantage of it because it only happens once a year.
What Does It Mean To Me?
The past three years have each had unique challenges that have significantly impacted people’s lives. In 2020, people struggled with isolation and restrictive government mandates that prohibited the most basic activities like walking in the park to critical needs of visiting loved ones in hospitals. The significant impact of government restrictions in 2020 set off a tsunami wave of worldwide disruptions and imbalances that include significant supply shortages, US labor shortages as people were paid not to work, and business dysfunction with more employees working from home than at the office. The Federal Reserve launched an aggressive rate hike campaign in March 2022 to combat hyperinflation that has impacted many areas of the business and household sectors. What the Federal Reserve does in the next several months and into 2023 will influence businesses and the stock market.
Our view is the economy will settle as businesses and consumers assimilate the higher interest-rate credit market. The US economy, businesses, and the stock market have an amazing track record of resiliency in recovering from the worst of challenges. Never in the history of this free-market country has the value of the US economy declined and not recovered.
It’s been a unique three years of challenges along with many benefits. Due to the 2020 work-at-home mandates, people of all ages experienced the value of online video meetings. Seeing each other is so much more profound than a telephone call, just as the telephone greatly improved communication over letters. Businesspeople are more time and cost-efficient with client engagement with the option to not travel for certain meetings that can be conducted via Zoom or Google Meets.
I trust you and your family will truly enjoy these next few months, deepening relationships and forging new memories.
EMAIL ME about some of your memorable holiday experiences or family traditions. We will collect them and post some of them in future Briefs. We look forward to hearing about them.