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Have you recovered sufficiently from the big feast and shopping stampede? Folks, it’s just the beginning of one of the most hectic times of the year.

If you did some serious shopping Friday, good for you. This retail rush is vitally important to the economy. Economists say about 25 percent of annual personal spending occurs during the count-down to Christmas.

Which brings us to what experts call “Christmas creep.” They’re not referring to a thief or con artist, but to the ever-widening window for retail sales. The official version is “Christmas creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by moving up the start of the holiday shopping season." As you’ve likely noticed, this year’s creep began before Halloween.

As creepy as that may sound, it’s important to our economy at all levels. Here at home, the shopping bonanza generates sales taxes that are converted to services and programs for local residents. With the average American spending about $700 on holiday gifts, the benefits for all of us are enormous.

So, roses to all us shoppers. We know who we are, and we appreciate it.

***

Every year, Oxford Dictionaries chooses a Word of the Year, and for 2018 that word is “toxic.”

Gee, wonder what they’re referring to?

Actually, you needn’t dig too deep for an answer to that question, because with today’s political climate, it’s a safe bet you’ve read and heard the word “toxic” in many news reports.

Oxford University Press monitors changes in the English language, and selects a word toward the end of the year that catches the prevailing mood. As it turns out, toxic is a word used to describe personal relationships, politics and habits.

OK, raspberries to any and all who use the word “toxic” in those contexts between now and midnight New Year’s Eve. Then we can restart the whole process.

***

We have two roses for the fellow who discovered a crashed car 50 feet or so below Highway 1, went down to investigate, found the driver critically injured and called 911.

The first rose is for paying attention to his surroundings and actually spotting a crash site that could not be seen from the road.

The second rose is for what he was doing when he found the accident scene — picking up litter alongside the highway.

The injured driver was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The litter-picking bystander went about his business. A good Samaritan, no matter how you look at it.

***

Roses to the folks at the California Farm Bureau for quickly establishing a disaster fund for farms, ranches and rural communities affected by wildfires, floods and other natural disasters across the state.

Online contributions can be made at the California Farm Bureau Federation website, www.cfbf.com, or at the California Bountiful website, www.californiabountiful.com, by following the Farm and Rural Disaster Fund link. Donations can also be made by sending a check, payable to the California Bountiful Foundation, to: California Bountiful Foundation; Farm and Rural Disaster Fund; 2300 River Plaza Drive; Sacramento, CA 95833; Attn: Financial Services.

Given the state of the state, it’s fairly obvious that this will be a fund very much in demand in the coming years. Climate experts are making dire predictions about a drought for western states, some of which have already been in drought stage for a couple of decades.

We tell you this not to frighten you, but to put you on notice that being prepared for disaster is now a way of life for Californians.

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