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Ask anyone who works outside for a living who might begrudge rising from a warm bed, and in my case, stumbling out into the freezing dark to the barn, and they will tell you there is nothing, I tell you, nothing, like observing a winter sunrise.

Monday had been a long day. The sort of day where nothing is straightforward, where each endeavor is met with either a traffic jam (which means 3 cars and a tractor in front of you in Landrum), Christmas orders being mixed up and a nervous young horse that managed to leap forward and sideway…

When I was a child my mother on a few occasions purchased an Advent calendar from our church’s tiny gift shop with proceeds going to charitable concerns.

We bought a tree quite early this year as there has been a shortage of trees of late (owing, I was told, to the recession 12 years ago when many tree farmers went bust, and therefore far fewer Fraser firs were planted).

Tucked up with a coffee in hand and the heater blasting in my truck, what better atmosphere than to listen to a bit of Christmas music, I thought, as I pulled into the feed store for my weekly equine grocery shop.

We arrived at our uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving, once again, and I think it’s fair to say that if you were not feeling particularly thankful this year, that’s all right. Sit down, put your feet up and have a cathead biscuit with some pepper jelly on it. Stroke the head of your dog …

If you know anything about me, or have regularly read this column over the years, you’ll know that if there’s one thing that drives me batty, it is holiday merchandise arriving in the shops by the first of September.

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