Some residents and businesses will start stringing up the Christmas lights as soon as the Halloween decorations come down, but hardcore shoppers know when their dream season begins.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become the accepted if unofficial start time of the Christmas rush. It's a huge day for retailers but only the first of a roughly month-long extravaganza.
And thanks to Abe Lincoln, who decreed Thanksgiving a national holiday, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed into law that it should fall on the fourth Thursday in November, and Pope Gregory XIII, who blessed the calendar we use by papal bull, 2012 has the longest possible shopping season.
To explain: With Nov. 1 falling on Thursday, the fourth Thursday and Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, couldn't fall any sooner. And that means there is more time – the most time any year can provide – for shoppers to shop and businesses to reap bounty.
Want to get started? At the St. Louis Galleria; hours for now, before the holiday hours kick in, are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The holiday hours haven't been decided yet.
Are you a local merchant or retailer in the area? Tell us when your holiday shopping hours will be in comments below.