By Maureen Post Special to Published Nov 13, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Every year, you hear the same comments. You know the conversation I'm talking about. Whether it's your relative, co-worker, friend or even yourself, someone is always huffing with a tinge of disapproval that holiday shopping, music and décor starts earlier and earlier every year.

As of today, the city's blue holiday lights (part of the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival) line Wisconsin Avenue and stores like Target and Whole Foods stack holiday displays in nearly every aisle. To my knowledge, Christmas music hasn't taken over the radio waves just yet but I'd assume WMYX's Delilah is going to make the switch any day now.

So, how early is too early? Does the start of Thanksgiving preparation also call for the start of Christmas goods and services? Is it okay to start as soon as Halloween is over? Or after Thanksgiving on Black Friday?

As a kid, I can remember circling items in the JCPenney catalogue with neighbor kids starting in August or September. Obviously, that might have been a bit too much childhood anticipation.

But, now, how early do you start your shopping? And when do you light the outdoor decorations?

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.