For a kid, it seems like this day will never come. Christmas Eve is when the real magic and excitement ramp up. Because the waiting is almost over.

As one ages, this day may take on a different significance. Part of maturing is learning the truth about things, that much of the Christmas excitement is purely man-made, maybe a little too heavy on the commercial side.

In that regard, adulthood is sort of a wakeup call about reality — or perhaps more like a slap in the face for erstwhile young believers in magic.

We had a dose of reality planned for this space today concerning passage of the Republican tax-reform plan. But many details about the big plan have yet to be explained, so we’ll save the commentary for another day. 

Instead, let’s have a bit of Christmas Eve fun, in large part because doing anything else would be too Grinchesque.

Quick, what is the most popular holiday in the United States every year. Here’s a hint — it happens tomorrow.

One reason the Christmas season is such a big hit is financial, and that’s the case for most of America’s large and small business operators. Many smaller retail businesses pick up half their profits for the entire year in the days between Halloween and Christmas Day.

We chose Halloween as the kickoff point for the holiday season because that’s about when Christmas decorations and for-sale items actually start appearing in stores.

The commercial aspects of Christmas have caused some disagreements over the years, mainly about the loss of true focus on what Christmas represents in an historical sense. But the efficacy of holiday shopping cannot be denied. As of next Tuesday, Americans will have spent nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars on presents, parties and other Christmas-centric goodies.

According to the personal-finance website WalletHub, the very best city in which to celebrate Christmas is Chicago, with San Francisco running a close second. Frankly, if forced to choose, we say San Francisco is tops.

On the other hand, several travel websites insist the worst city to find yourself in on Christmas is Philadelphia. They give a lot of reasons, but we didn’t want to go to Philly anyway.

One of the reasons San Francisco is a popular holiday spot is the city hosts the most Christmas-related events per square foot in the nation. The city with the lowest per-square-foot Christmas events? Tucson — but remember, it’s a dry heat.

Miami is No. 20 on WalletHub’s best-cities-for-Christmas list, maybe because metro Miami has the most Christmas tree farms per square foot, more than 100 times more than Garland, Texas. We’re not sure what that means.

New York City has the most toy stores per square foot, while Detroit has the fewest — yet more evidence of the former auto-making capital of the world’s steady decline.

And for readers who have not yet completed their Christmas shopping, you still have a few hours to get the job done. And shame on you!

For everyone else, enjoy the easy slide into Christmas Eve and then Christmas morning. It is a period of joy and celebration.

Oh, and before we forget, this is a special night for children, so you don’t want to do anything that might ruin it. Which means, be sure to put the cookies out for Santa.

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