Personally I think about Christmas all year long, but I know a lot of people mark Black Friday as the official start of Christmas season. This year, with the pandemic in full swing, I urge you to start planning now for a few reasons.

Walmart, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods have all announced closures on Thanksgiving Day as part of a modified approach to Black Friday amid Covid concerns. Black Friday itself is still up in the air, but I wouldn't be surprised if that gets mostly shut down. It may be a good idea to start your shopping now.

This was also the last week for the unemployment stimulus payments, which means money will be a lot tighter in the coming months. Might as well get ahead of the game and grab gifts while the purse strings are a little loose. Tons of retailers are running big sales to keep money coming in. Take advantage of that.

In terms of the holiday spirit, 2020 needs all the joy and love it can get. So crank the A/C, bundle up in a huge blanket, and watch The Santa Claus while you sip on hot chocolate.