What's wrong with Christmas in October?

Like clockwork, it happens every year about this time.

No, I'm not talking about stores hauling out their Christmas merchandise before we've even hit the midway point in October. I'm talking about people complaining about it.

I'm not going to try to disprove that Wal-Mart and Kohl's dragged their Christmas displays out a week or two earlier than last year, even though I don't actually believe that's the case.

All I'm saying is it's a pretty silly thing to get up in arms about. In fact, while everyone else is groaning, I'm secretly cheering inside.

Christmas time makes me happy.

I'm one of those people who listens to the all-Christmas-music-all-the-time radio stations and puts her tree up as early as possible. I spend months searching for just the right presents for everyone on my list.

During the holiday season, everybody is in a giving mood, whether it's baking dozens of cookies for co-workers or spending a few hours working in a food pantry. Most charity groups will tell you they see a dramatic increase in donations and volunteers during November and December.

Seeing lit-up Christmas trees and sparkling ornaments puts a smile on my face as I think about the good times to come. What's wrong with stretching that feeling out by an extra week or so?

The thing is, despite all of your grumblings, stores aren't going to delay the start of Christmas. Why should they? The final few months of the year are when most retail businesses make the majority of their money.

Instead of falling right into the industry's commercialization trap - thinking Christmas is right around the corner, freaking out, and buying presents left and right like a madman - just go with it. Embrace the warm and fuzzy Christmas spirit earlier and earlier each year, and maybe it will make the world a better place.

That's not to say I want the county to turn into a Christmas wonderland by the first week in October. I do appreciate when businesses pay tribute to October's actual holiday by getting into the Halloween spirit.

Most places go all out for Christmas, but there aren't a lot of restaurants and stores that take on Halloween-themed decor. You'll see a cardboard pumpkin or a bowl of candy corn, but not many shops fully celebrating the creepy, ghoulish nature of All Hallows' Eve.

So I especially love hanging out at one of my favorite local bars, the Lawrenceville Taco Mac, during October. When I dropped in last Friday night, I was thrilled to find it decked out in faux cobwebs, giant spiders and fake tombstones, all bathed in the warm glow of thousands of orange lights.

You know what the best thing about Halloween is? Besides the candy, of course? It's that after it's over, it's officially socially acceptable to be excited about Christmas.

E-mail Shelley Mann at shelley.mann@gwinnettdailypost.com.