Above, a Polaroid snapshot reminds Wil of his early association with his family’s independent local business.

The end of October kicks off my favorite season of the year; fall. No other time of year hits me with sentimentality like fall does. Living in Naperville my whole life has heaped memories and experiences high on the nostalgia bonfire.

The advent of fall meant several things to me as a kid (and still do, for some reason). School is ‘in.’ Not just in, but in. School work actually had to be done, it wasn’t just teachers and students shaking off the end of lazy summer days.

Hoodie weather is here. You know, hooded sweatshirt weather? No one likes hoodie weather better than yours truly. It’s socially acceptable to wear the same hoodie every day. Hoodie weather is fashion salvation for an every man like me.

Fall also signals the beginning of the holidays. Seasonal products start to come out. Restaurant menus change. Decorations start to spring up everywhere. And then you hear that first Christmas song on the radio when you’re out shopping. Yep, the holidays have arrived.

Working at Oswald’s for over 20 years has made me realize that in retail, the holidays are a year-long event. As soon as a new year hits, retail buyers are already ordering for the next Christmas season.

At the store we start getting Christmas merchandise shipments in as early as May. May! Gift wrap and packaging gets here in July, followed by a wave of actual gift items in September.

Many people get fed up with the retail aspect of the holidays by the time they’re over. If you’re one of those people, keep in mind; a lot of work goes into making the holidays, well, the holidays. If we didn’t have great buyers and decorators making the holidays what they are, how would they be any different from the rest of the year?