It was the fireplaces. Walking home last night, my fingers were freezing, my nose was red (it was still 40 degrees, but the D.C. summer thins the blood), and I was generally cranky. But, as soon as I smelled smoke (the good, sweet piney kind, not the sulfuric, call-the-insurance-agent kind) it hit me: the holidays are almost here. That fact irritated me to no end just before Halloween when the corner drug store had Santa in the window with the ghosts; but now I've booked my flight home for Christmas, saved a few bucks for gifts, and it's 30 degrees out instead of 80. Most people have some sort of trigger for these things... falling leaves, a winter wardrobe change. For me it's the smells... dried leaves, sugar cookies, gravy, turkey, pine trees, and of course the fireplaces. How about you? When does it really sink in that the holidays are here?