What indicates that the holidays have arrived?
Obviously, the calendar clearly tells us when the holidays are here, but what makes you actually feel it? Gorging yourself on Thanksgiving deliciousness? Black Friday shopping? The appearance of twinkling lights throughout the neighborhood? Christmas music pouring out of all speakers? Finding just the right gift and wrapping it up?
All of these things cognitively tell me that Christmas is coming... and for the most part I enjoy them (don't get me started on the horror that is Black Friday). But the one thing that makes me feel all Christmas-y inside? Like the world is good, peace on earth, good will to men, and all that jazz? It can only be listening to Mannheim Steamroller.
I completely attribute this to my mother. After a lifetime of listening to their collected works Christmas morning while opening presents and then waiting anxiously for dad's eggs benedict (yum!) with mimosas (also: yum!), their music has now become synonymous with Christmas.
And yesterday, when their music started to play on my iPod, that was it. I felt Christmas. Didn't matter that I had already purchased, wrapped and shipped all of my presents. That I had already been looking for plane tickets home. Or that I had already set out my Christmas decorations. It didn't feel like Christmas until I heard the music.
Classical conditioning at its finest.
So what about you... what indicates that it's the holidays?