Here we go, off into the holiday season. The excitement and preparations associated with the string of traditional and religious celebrations help keep us from lapsing into terminal depression as the cold and the dark settle over our world for the next few months.
It's a special time steeped in celebratory food and drink, family ritual and rampant gifting. Isthmus acknowledges this much-anticipated stretch of the calendar with our annual supplement Giving, which appears with your paper this week. We get it to you just in time for the kickoff holiday of the season, Thanksgiving, which this year coincides with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, giving rise to the rare hybrid, Thanksgivukkah.
Within the pages of Giving you will find advice to the giftlorn by our perennial adviser, Mrs. Gift. You will also find a survey of historic Madison places of worship ("Welcoming God...and Others" by Jay Rath) and church-related traditions, also by Rath; and "The Consumable Gift" by Sari Judge, who seeks to avoid gift clutter. Julia Burke explores our bounty of cheese and recommends some pairings with wine and beer. Rath offers a profile of Street Pulse, the newspaper that exists to bolster the homeless and give them an income. In the media department, Linda Falkenstein looks at the TV schedule and identifies the holiday-oriented special presentations of the season.
If you're looking to kick off your holiday shopping with an eye toward doing good, regard the Downtown Madison Holiday Open House, a special promotion for downtown businesses on Nov. 29 and 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. It features "Shop for Good," a United Way teen gift initiative. You can find out more about all this at VisitDowntownMadison.com. As one of our headlines (and a line from a Christmas standard) says, "It's Christmas time in the city." Almost.