The Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar is one of my favorite holiday traditions. It is a downloadable electronic experience, set in various interesting locations. Last year, it was London. This year, it is Sussex.

In this countdown to Christmas, users click on a number, 1 through 25, and are treated to an animated video — a celebration of St. Lucia Day, for example, with small girls singing in procession, wreaths of lights upon their heads. (That year, the calendar was set in a Nordic village.) Or it might be an activity, like dressing up a snowperson.

The numbers are embedded in a scenic landscape (usually on ornaments), and there’s always a cozy, decorated room to visit in one of the buildings. There, users can learn about the various traditions depicted and the lovely classical music in the background, play games and assemble jigsaw puzzles.

It’s a relaxing way to spend 15 minutes after dinner in the lead-up to Christmas Day. I also enjoy gifting friends with the calendar. But, truly, the best part is that users cannot open an activity until its time arrives. No. 1 is on Dec. 1. No. 25 is on Christmas.

You can buy the calendar right now. You can look around the scene and visit the sitting room. But there’s no cheating. Click on Dec. 1 all you want. It won’t open.

How refreshing is that, when the American “celebration” of Christmas began before Halloween this year?


I believe in tradition. The Christmas season starts with the first Sunday of Advent, which, conveniently for us, comes right after Thanksgiving. In fact, I discovered the daily activities on the calendar couldn’t be accessed until Dec. 1 when I went on at the start of Advent and clicked on the ornament numbered “1.” It took me a minute to realize my mistake.

My reaction: “Oh, Jacquie Lawson, you are even more of a stickler than I am!”

I feel so strongly about this subject that, in the past, I would get angry when I walked into a store to buy toothpaste or laundry detergent in early November and saw a display of Christmas candy. Now, I’m resigned to the madness, but will not succumb. My tree is not decorated, and my wreath will not be hung — until Nov. 27.

I celebrate Christmas from Advent Sunday until Epiphany. As I should. As everybody would, if I ruled the world.

Tradition is my major objection to the early start of the season. But it’s not the only one. I am also a believer in living in the moment, which to me also means living in reality. I check the temperature before I head out the door. It’s not hard. It’s right there on my smart watch. If it’s 32 degrees, as it was Tuesday morning, I wear a coat, hat and gloves.

The flip-flops are stashed away until May. I am now wearing pants. If you are in shorts in mid-November, I am sneering at you in my head. Sue me.


Now is the time for winter jackets. It is also the time for pumpkins. I ignore the evergreen swags with jaunty red ribbons that taunt me as I make my way into the supermarket. It’s not easy.

Everybody was in such a hurry to get pumpkin spice coffee — in August. Summer. So wrong. You can bet that no pumpkin in any way, shape or form crossed my lips before Sept. 23. The autumnal equinox should be observed, and a pumpkin spice coffee is a fine way to do it.

Also, decorative maize and jack-o’-lanterns, scarecrows and corn stalks can be displayed after this date.

Mums are good any time you, personally, feel fall-ish, but I will say if you buy them too early, you will also lose them early.

Because, you see, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Peppermint mocha coffee’s time has not yet arrived. Trust me, it tastes better if you wait until Nov. 27.


It’s called delayed gratification, and its what grown-ups do.

Before Election Day, I might have made a snarky remark now and then that apparently there are no grown-ups left in America, but the midterms proved me wrong. Now, I’m wondering if there are enough of us to stop the craziness that is Christmas in October.

My final appeal for sanity is in defense of Thanksgiving, which has become the planet Pluto of holidays. It’s getting no respect. I love Thanksgiving. It’s all about food and cooking and baking (my favorite things) and does not involve presents.

Why can’t we just focus on pumpkins and stuffing and family gatherings and — groan — football for the month between Halloween and Thanksgiving? Then we can finally heave ourselves with abandon into Christmas.

Oh, why do I even try? I have accepted that I am a lone voice in the wilderness. I celebrate my holiday my way, and that’s all that counts.

Still, it isn’t easy. I downloaded the Jacquie Lawson Sussex Advent Calendar 2022 so I could make sure my details here were correct. I wouldn’t usually do that this early. I entered the scene, and it was so very festive. I sighed with delight.

But once I’d fact-checked, I shut it right down. Dec. 1 will be here soon enough. Isn’t it lovely I have something to look forward to? I’ve almost stopped feeling so grumpy.

Liz Soares welcomes email at

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