Yesterday was Thanksgiving here. Americans brought that custom down and it was embraced by many here in Panama, as is true in other nations like Brazil. It is a wonderful holiday because it is not about "what you get", but about "what you are thankful for having received" and has a universal appeal as a result.
Today is Black Friday, another custom from up north that has truly gone global. For me, it is a good excuse to stay inside and away from the malls!
These are both signs of the beginning of the "official" Christmas shopping season, but the real sign in my mind was the arrival a few days ago of 113,000 Christmas trees in refrigerated containers from Canada. By today, we should see them on sale all over the city and outside, but probably at prices higher than I want to spend. I think I will be just as happy to wrap my strings of tree lights around the railing of my balcony. It is cheaper and adds some color to the neighborhood. I may be cheap, but I am still cheerful!