Earlier this fall, when a handful of big-box stores in Southern Maryland were already displaying Christmas trees next to the Halloween candy, you were flush with holiday denial. You could shake your head and keep walking down the aisle. Too soon, you could tell yourself.

But next week is Thanksgiving. There’s no denying it anymore. We’re a month and three days from Christmas. The holidays are absolutely here. It’s on.

This message is by no means another clarion call to go out and shop ’til you drop. Actually, it’s an appeal to our loyal readers to stop, relax, remember and share.

What we’re looking for are your favorite Christmas memories or the best holiday gift you ever received, to be compiled in an article we will publish in our edition on Christmas Day, just as we all — hopefully — start to unwind for the season.

Everyone has a holiday tale to tell, and we’d be pleased to hear yours. In years past, readers have shared stories of how centuries-old traditions from elsewhere have been honored and kept alive here. They have also told of new traditions. Readers have shared holiday tales of children’s first Christmases, favorite toys and favorite foods. And they’ve shared lessons of forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption, as family members long estranged reconnected and solidified their bond. After all, not all gifts have to be wrapped up, ribboned and bowed.

So you get the idea. Your Christmas memories can be funny, sweet or poignant, but we want to hear from you. What was the best gift you ever got? Tell us.

Here’s how you can share your memories: Your best bet is to email your submissions to Jesse Yeatman at jyeatman@somdnews.com. You can also mail them to Best Christmas Gift Ever, c/o Jesse Yeatman, The Enterprise, 22685 Three Notch Road, Suite D, California, MD 20619. Tell your story as completely as possible, in your own words, but please try to keep it to about 300 words. Please include your telephone number (not for publication, but just in case we have any questions) and your town of residence.

Words are only part of the package, though. What’s Christmas without pictures? We welcome your photographs to accompany your stories, either digitally (preferred) or through the mail.

If you should mail Christmas memory photos along with your submission, include a return address if you want them sent back to you after publication. And if your holiday photos from the past are impossible or impractical to publish, we could perhaps come out and take a photograph of you to use with the article.

And since we’re asking you to perform like newspaper reporters for a day, we’ll introduce you to an aspect of the job we deal with all the time: a deadline. We’ll absolutely need your submissions no later than the close of business on Friday, Dec. 13. Sooner is strongly encouraged, of course. That will allow us time to carefully prepare your memories for publication.

Thank you in advance for helping The Enterprise continue what has already become a tradition of its own. We look forward to hearing from you very soon, and we look forward to helping you share your holiday memories with our community.