Rain or shine, more than 300,000 colored lights as well as lighted sculptures will be on display at Nature's Coastal Holidays at Brookings' Azalea Park starting tonight.

And it's all because a small army of volunteers spent the last two weekends, often in the pouring rain, to set up this wonderful community display.

Personally, I think the recent rain and chilly temperatures these last few days was an act of God - he was sending a clear message: "No Christmas before Thanksgiving!"

I say "amen" to that.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that Christmas celebrations should begin after Thanksgiving. Advertisers think otherwise. Every year, they hijack the holiday months in advance to hawk everything from pantyhose to luxury cars. In fact, both items were in a commercial featuring a sexy, female santa pulling on shear pantyhose while sliding out of a sports car wrapped with a red bow. I don't remember what they were selling.

Every year, to combat advertisers' insidious efforts, I follow several rules:

andbull;No decorations until after Thanksgiving. Which means this weekend I'll be battling the black widows, dust bunnies and other creepie-crawlies as I dig the Christmas lights and ornaments out of storage.

andbull;No singing or humming of Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving. The mute button on the TV remote helps keep Christmas songs from sticking in my head prematurely. If I can't find the remote, I put my hands over my ears and chant "La, la, la!"

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can rest my remote thumb and sing Christmas songs to my heart's content. Perhaps I'll put a few black widows in the advertisers' Christmas stockings. That's the Christmas spirit!

In addition to Nature's Coastal Holiday opening today, Santa will be taking photos with local pets during a fundraiser for the South Coast Humane Society (see story on Page 7A)

Next Saturday, Santa will visit the boardwalk at the Port of Brookings Harbor at 4 p.m. He will be transported on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, which helps him avoid the pesky full-body scans. He will be available for pictures until 5 p.m.

In Brookings, Christmas means crab, and the season is officially set to open Dec. 1. This means commercial fishermen will suffer temporary insanity and head out into the treacherous, unforgiving sea in the pursuit of one of the ugliest creatures on earth. Creatures so hideous, yet so delicious. Yummm.

Children will soon be writing letters to Santa (asking for sexy pantyhose and sports cars no doubt), and hoping to get their holiday artwork published in the Pilot's annual Holiday Greetings section. (I accept cash and most major credit cards!)

The family and I might continue our annual tradition of finding and cutting down a Christmas tree in the nearby national forest. Nothing says Christmas like cutting off an arm or leg! Perhaps the paramedics will sing carols as they drive me to the emergency room.

Talking of hurting myself, I will continue the annual Christmas tradition of climbing up a ladder and, using live power cords, stringing lights on the house in the middle of a rainstorm. It can be an electrifying experience!

Merry Christmas!