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Friday, July 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 70.0° F  Overcast
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Now we're getting to the hectic time of year. And not a moment too late! There are so many attractions and distractions between now and 2008 that the only reaction is to take the holiday moments as they come, savor them, and then prepare for the next occasion.

So rapid-fire are the events -- the holidays, holiday parties, holiday office parties, etc. -- that one may need to recalibrate time. For instance, before the turkey leg is passed next Thursday, there will be another issue of Isthmus. As is our annual procedure, we gladly cede our customary distribution day to the Thanksgiving fête, distributing that week's paper on the Wednesday before (that would be next Wednesday).

Christmas and New Year's Day occur on Tuesdays this year. It may not make much difference to you, but we will have to do some creative scheduling to get your papers to you on the following Thursdays. And should you think that I'm rushing things with talk of Christmas already, I call your attention to Giving, our seasonal supplement that accompanies your Isthmus this week. It means that as of the date of this edition, there are 36 days until Christmas.

Giving is about giving in its varied forms. It contains many, and I do mean many, suggestions for holiday gifts, both in the advertising and the stories.

The primary element in Giving for the last 20 years has been the non-profit agencies' Wish List. This year, 55 service providers have listed their needs and fondest desires in hopes that someone out there has what they want and will provide it in the spirit of the season. Thanks to supplements editor Linda Falkenstein for doing the listing legwork (though very little actual leg was involved.).

The anonymous Mrs. Gift, on the other hand, has put a lot of leg into pre-shopping for you, compiling an extensive survey of available boutique items for your giving gratification. Kate Zurlo-Cuva has a couple of interesting contributions, especially the one on gifts that don't clutter. These are presents that are enjoyed outside the home or are consumed within it. And then there's giving a party. Anna Palmer gets tips from some folks who have become expert at it.

As for the ultimate gift, giving of your self, Kevin Revolinski tells the tale of some "renegade" recruits who've made distance volunteering their specialty.

There is much more in Giving, just as there is more than just gifting to the holiday season. We hope the assembled articles help steer you through the coming few weeks, eliminating some of the stress and buttressing the high spirits.

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