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It's never too early for Christmas cheer

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When I was a teenager, I worked the counter of the NAPA Auto Parts store in Oakes, N.D. I'll never forget one quiet mid-summer afternoon, when I was focusing my energies on cleaning up around the store and some interesting tunes came flowing out of the radio speakers perched on the building's walls. In a temporary state of confusion, I perked my ears to make sure that I was actually hearing what I thought I was hearing. The DJ was playing Christmas music when the temperature outside was close to 80 degrees.

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These days, people can't seem to start thinking about Christmas soon enough. You hear about the madness of post-seasonal shoppers trying to snag a good deal on presents as early as January. It's also common to hear stories of people camping out for days in front of a store to be the first to get a once-a-year deal on Christmas merchandise. And this year, I swear, Christmas ornaments and trees were on display in some stores as early as mid-October.

But so what? I'll admit it: I love Christmas.

I'm the guy who, at any time of the year, sets his iPod to shuffle and stops when a Christmas song pops up. I'm also the type of person who wrestles with the idea of getting myself an early Christmas present approximately 10 times a year.

But society often tells Christmas fans like me to slow their horses. Just the other day, I came across a Facebook bumper sticker portraying Santa Claus and a caption telling readers to stay "calm" because it's only November.

But I say, what's so wrong with getting excited about Christmas early? Perhaps a popular response would be that millions of Americans just finished celebrating Thanksgiving.

Touché.

Nevertheless, it seems like people are getting Christmas fever earlier every year. And in this case, the symptoms of Christmas fever involve the desire to start Christmas shopping early.

It's understandable. Shopping for Christmas can be really exciting for some people. But what I think most people appreciate even more than shopping is when others spend an entire year spreading the cheer and joy that that can be found during the holiday season.

Presents are just an image that comes to mind when Christmas rolls around, but I think the power of kindness and giving is what people look forward to most.

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