Christmas delayed is Christmas denied.
By putting up my Christmas lights the day after I came back from Thanksgiving vacation, I've surrendered to the season.
I blame the stores that start putting up Christmas decorations after Halloween, but that is another column.
The season got to me in another way on Tuesday. It was so beautiful I had to work outside, but I couldn't bring myself to swing a pick or haul stuff off to the dump.
So, I hung the Christmas lights.
Last year, well, OK, March isn't technically last year, we pulled the lights down - clips and all -and rolled them up onto the racks.
All I had to do when I pulled them off the hook was unroll them, figure out which end went where and hang them.
Two hours and I was done. I even had time to take the lights we put out for Halloween and wrap them around the trellis for style.
Gift-giving can be an art or skill. In my family it is war.
Take for example the decorative brass windmill that plays "Impossible Dream" when you wind it up.
My wife's cousin Geoff found the thing, which he gave to his sister, MiAnne, for Christmas.
The next year, MiAnne wrapped it up and gave it to cousin Maggie for her birthday. Jennifer and I received the windmill for her birthday the following year.
We hung on to the windmill for a couple of years, mainly because it disappeared during our move out to Dayton.
Then one day, when we were looking for something else, Jenn dusted off a box and opened it only to find the windmill, still in mint condition.
We wrapped that baby up for Geoff's birthday and pulled the trigger. The groan when he realized he'd received the windmill back was worth the effort.
I don't give many gag gifts, but it seems to me one of those talking fish would be a pretty good one. That must explain their popularity, because I've even stopped pressing the button on all the fish as a prank.
My best year was when I gave cousin MiAnne a Chia head and Jennifer a Clapper.
Because we had concrete floors, there was an awful echo in the house, so the Clapper was a little hard of hearing. I wanted to hook all the lights in the house to it so I could turn them all off at once, but Jenn thought it might start a fire.
I got two responses on last week's column from Las Vegas. One was from Guy Rocha, who wrote the forward to a book about the city, "A Short History of Las Vegas," by authors Barbara Land and Myrick Land.
When I first saw the fax, I thought, "Oh no, what did I do wrong?" Usually a fax from Guy means we've gotten some point wrong.
Happily, the cover sheet, which was at the bottom of the pile, said, "Great column!! I feel the same way."
The other e-mail was from Jessi Winchester, whose husband is from Las Vegas. She wrote to say her husband's father worked with Bugsy Siegel back in the old, old days.
After rereading the column, I thought it was a little depressing. Especially considering that I had a pretty good time.
Reporter Teri Vance told me Friday that my friend Patrick Beckwith has been named a new dean of students at Carson High School.
Pat and his wife, Paige White, worked for me at UNLV's Yellin' Rebel lo those many years ago.
It's good to see the UNLV contingent, such as it is, making good.
Kurt Hildebrand is assistant managing editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 881-1215 or e-mail him at Kurt@Tahoe.com