Even before Halloween jack-o-lanterns were carved, retailers were advertising the joys of Christmas gift-giving -- and getting -- on television.
And no sooner will the Thanksgiving turkey be carved before radio stations start playing Christmas music, some of them nonstop, through Christmas Day.
"In a sense we've done this backwards," said Vicky Tufano, general editor for Chicago-based Liturgy Training Publications, which publishes books and other resources for parishes and families on all manner of Catholic life and practice.
"We put up the Christmas tree four weeks before Christmas, and we throw it out the next day" after Christmas. It requires some intentional work by families, and sometimes even parishes, to keep the intent of Advent intact, Tufano said.
She acknowledged that even Catholic families unused to instilling Advent customs in their homes might be feeling uneasy over the ever-encroaching Christmas creep, even if they can't put their uneasiness into words.
Christmas, she said, "gets closer and it starts earlier and earlier," Tufano said, taking note of the new craze of stores opening the night of Thanksgiving Day to get more shoppers, and more money.