If it’s Halloween, this must be Christmas

Have you already heard people grumbling about Christmas decorations? This week, I listened to a priest give a homily that started off wondering why people are putting Christmas lights in their yards. He had a point: the calendar only said Halloween when Christmas trees were sprouting in the stores.

Well, newspapers — especially weekly ones — always seem to work in the slightly skewed time zone. When it’s still the last warm days of autumn, we focus on Advent and Christmas. For example, even though it’s two weeks from Thanksgiving, I started tallying lists of various churches and other groups who offer free Thanksgiving dinners before Halloween. And as most of you are thawing a turkey and peeling potatoes, I will be contacting the other groups that do the same wonderful thing on Christmas Day. (That list of free Christmas dinners will appear in our Dec. 11, 2015 issue.)

My research for information on All Saints Day takes place before Columbus Day and our requests to gifted columnists for Advent features went out last month as well. (Advent starts on Nov. 20 this year.) Anything on Valentine’s Day is researched — or Valentine greetings for the paper are offered by our advertising manager — in mid-January. Parishes have already been asked to get Christmas Mass schedules to us and we are starting to gather story ideas for our Catholic Schools Week section in late January.

This week I will research icons of the Holy Family — whose feast will be celebrated on Dec. 27 this year — because Bishop David Ricken will be sending a gift of an icon of the Holy Family to every Catholic household in the diocese in mid-December.

And as soon as Christmas is upon us, The Compass will be planning for Lent — which begins this coming year on Feb. 10.

I guess that’s why I have two calendars — each showing a different month — on my office wall.

About Patricia Kasten

Kasten is the author of “Linking Your Beads, The Rosary’s History, Mysteries and Prayers,” published by Our Sunday Visitor Press.  Her newest book, on sainthood – “Making Sense of Saints. Fascinating Facts about Relics, Patrons, Saint-Making and More“, was published by OSV in Spring 2014.  She is also a puzzle-smith. Her weekly Scripture Search puzzle (see The Compass) and bi-weekly The Cross Word, both based on the Sunday readings, appear in Catholic newspapers and parish bulletins around the country.