In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: Happy New-Thanks-Mas-Ween!

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Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at jpalmer@springsips.com

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— Happy New Year! Pop open that bottle of bubbly, settle down in front of the TV and get ready for the ball to drop in Times Square. What? It's only August? Yes, only August. But sadly, I already have spotted Halloween candy in one local store. The way I calculate it, in a few short days the Christmas merchandise will be upon us.

By the time you read this column, the start of school will be less than one week away. As soon as the pencils, erasers, notebooks and calculators are cleared from the shelves, the fright masks, plastic pumpkins and candy will appear. I like Halloween, I really do. I just don't need two months to prepare for it. And I really, really do not need any extra incentive to eat chocolate. I already have plenty of rationales at the ready.

Missed parking spot? Why not have a chocolate?

Stubbed toe? Have a chocolate!

Feeling sluggish? Perk up with chocolate.

Stuck on a column? Eat an entire box of chocolate.

Last year, retailers pretty much ignored Turkey Day. And why not? Thoughts of Squanto, Pilgrims and the Mayflower do not inspire consumers to buy flat screen TVs, cashmere sweaters and new MP3 players. And so, Thanksgiving and Christmas just sort of morphed into one holiday giving birth to a new word: Thanksmas. The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, is supposed to signal the start of holiday shopping - but retailers started enticing consumers to buy, buy, buy as soon as Halloween ended. This year, faced with a sluggish economy, retailers are going to have to find new ways to get consumers to buy. How about guilt?

Buy this or the recession will get worse!

Buy this or your kids will devote an entire therapy session whining about the Christmas they didn't get what they wanted!

Buy this or your government will never send you another economic stimulus check again!

Since we live in Ski Town USA, holidays are not part of the equation. The 10-day period between Christmas and New Year's is a difficult time to celebrate anything except the pleasures of overtime. Ski instructors, restaurant workers, shuttle drivers and especially folks who work at the airport, plaster a smile on their faces, gear up for the crowds and hope they earn enough in overtime and tips to take a vacation in April. By the time New Year's Eve rolls around, locals all are exhausted, crabby and ready for bed at 5:30 p.m.

Whoopee!

After considerable thought, I've come up with a solution: holiday consolidation. I propose a new holiday for all of us who live and work in resort areas.

New-Thanks-Mas-Ween!

Happy New-Thanks-Mas-Ween!

It's New Year's, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Halloween all rolled into one and celebrated in one day. New-Thanks-Mas-Ween. After you practice saying it a few hundred times, you'll get up to speed. Think of the advantages. Less stress, less debt and fewer hangovers. No holiday crowds, no fights with the in-laws and no long lines at the post office. Best of all, it's eco-friendly! Your children will hate you, but Mother Earth will love you. All you have to do is pick a day, any day between now and December 31, to celebrate New-Thanks-Mas-Ween. Spare no expense, (remember, you are celebrating four holidays at once) and do it up right! Decorate a huge pumpkin with a few of your favorite Christmas ornaments, drape some mistletoe over your turkey, unwrap a couple of presents and sing a rousing chorus of "Auld Lang Syne." If family and friends think you're crazy, just tell them that's the way it's done in Ski Town USA.

Happy New-Thanks-Mas-Ween!

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