Halloween has passed us by, and though Christmas is over six weeks away, the holiday season has officially begun. It seems to come earlier every year: two weeks ago, I was standing in a Target and actually yelled, "Shenanigans!" out loud to nobody in particular after hearing "Jingle Bells" pumping through the loudspeaker. And though I'm sure I looked quite mad, there is no madness greater than the Early X-Mas Roll-Out, the pre-Thanksgiving holiday blitz that starts on this very day, the day after Halloween. Even before all of the pumpkins in your neighborhood get smashed, retailers across the country are pushing their holiday wares, breaking out the Christmas trees, Santa hats, and that damn Kenny G Christmas cd that my mother buys and plays every year, despite our family's best attempts to break and hide it from her. Whether you like it or not: the holiday season has officially arrived. So how are you going to cope with the onslaught of holiday cheer, when you're not quite feeling it yet? A few suggestions, after the jump.

  • Be A Halloween Holiday Extender

You know that one family in your neighborhood that drives everyone insane by insisting on keeping Christmas going until at least February 1st? Well guess what? You, too, can be a Holiday Extender. Just like that family who keeps their animatronic Santa Claus on their roof long past Valentine's Day, you can stave off Early X-Mas by holding on to Halloween as long as you possibly can. Leave the synthetic spiderwebs up around your door! Go to work in costume every day! Keep that rotting Jack-o-Lantern carcass in your home until the Department of Health and Human Services busts down your door to find you huddled in the corner, singing "Hold On To The Nights" to a lump of decaying pumpkin. Sure, being a Holiday Extender might drive you mad, but is it any crazier than singing "Jingle Bells" on November 1? I think not.

  • Organize A Neighborhood "Thanksgiving Awareness" Team

Somebody out there has to call shenanigans on Early X-Mas, and it might as well be you! Get your friends together to take back November for the holiday that truly deserves it: Thanksgiving. Throw yourself into Thanksgiving Mania like you never have before: study the historical aspects of the holiday! Educate others on the myths and legends surrounding the traditional harvest dinner! Make Handprint Turkeys and post them all over town in a Banksy-esque fashion! Give a local lecture on the power of Green Bean Casserole! Start a punk band called The Pilgrim Reapers and play songs about how Thanksgiving is slowly being killed by the onslaught of Early X-Mas! Your only goal, really, is to keep November as the Thanksgiving Zone for as long as you possibly can. Only then will we keep Santa out of the stores until we're ready for him.

  • Skip The Holidays Completely

While Election Day parties and plans will keep you occupied until at least next Wednesday, perhaps the best way to avoid Early X-Mas is to pretend like the holidays already happened. Start planning weekly New Year's Eve parties until the end of 2008. You can celebrate the oncoming New Year and act as if you've already lived through the insanity of the holiday season. Bonus: by the time New Year's Eve actually rolls around, you'll be about 6 weeks ahead of everyone, in terms of making (and breaking) resolutions. And you'll totally be eligible to say things like, "Ugh, that is soooo 2008," as you live in your 2009 fantasy world, where we have a new president, the economy has miraculously rebounded, and science has found a way to successfully clone Christian Bale.

  • Unconditional Surrender

If all else fails, your best bet may just be to embrace the holiday madness and work it for all its worth. Break out those goofy holiday cds, hang homemade snowflakes from your ceiling, and keep an unlimited supply of holiday cookies in your home. Walk around town in a red velvet cape and sing carols to anyone who comes to your door: the paperboy, the mailman, even the cops who will inevitably show up to check on your mental state. Fill a silo with Hanukkah gelt and swim through it, Scrooge McDuck style. Mix your morning coffee with a candy cane and brush your teeth with a tiny Nutcracker. Refer to any breakouts as "tiny Rudolph moments" and any grey hairs as "Santa streaks." Change your Jezebel screen name: HolidayHortenseHearsSilverBells, for example. But most importantly, realize this: no matter how far we run away, or how much we grumble, there's no escaping the holiday blitz that is now upon us. All we can do now is decide how we're going to handle it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a rotting Jack-o-Lantern to cradle.