The Way We Live Now: With bells on. Jingle bells. Sweaty, stank jingle bells. They get that way when you wear em in July. But the economy demands Christmas shopping now. I want a hideous Jeff Koons diamond sculpture, Santa!

"A number of retailers and toy makers launched Christmas sales and promotions this month, hoping to boost sagging sales and help cash-strapped consumers stretch out their holiday spending." Toys R Us! QVC! Buy six snowblowers, get a plastic reindeer 30% off!

And why not? The wise shopper doesn't wait until The Night Before Christmas to pick up her, I don't know, tinsel and shit. Stockings. They can sell out. Then your kids get their presents inside of socks. But wait—all the presents sold out, in July. See the logic?

It's not a question of whether doing your XXXmas shopping now is the right move—it's just a question of what to get. Is hedge fund manager Richard Perry on your Christmas list? Well don't get him a $2.3 million "pop-art 'diamond' the size of a water buffalo" by Jeff Koons. He already has that. It's on his roof, so all the neighbors can see it. They love it!

Actually it's atrocious and it throws off beams of light hot enough to incinerate ants blocks away, but complaining about it would be contrary to the Christmas Spirit. So unfreeze your icy hearts, America. The economic contraction slowed drastically in the past quarter. People seriously think the recession may be over. If the unemployed can get back to robbing Salvation Army bell-ringers earlier than ever this year, it can only help.