Christmas Day is Dec. 25.
But in Sandusky, the Christmas season begins the day after Thanksgiving with the annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony.
The chilly Friday night event drew large crowds to Washington Park and downtown Sandusky.
Santa himself showed up, transported by the Sandusky Fire Department. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer posed for pictures with members of the crowd.
Many of Sandusky's downtown institutions hosted special hours to participate.
Among the families who crowded into the Merry-Go-Round Museum, which was open and offering carousel rides, was the Harp-Gurney clan: Raymond and Darlene Harp of Sandusky, Kathy Harp Gurney and her husband, Larry Gurney, of Castalia, and Jessica Gurney, 7, and her father, Joe Gurney, both of Nevada.
"I'm looking forward to riding the merry-go-round," Jessica said.
The family said they had already walked around downtown to look at the Christmas trees at the Sandusky State Theatre, and viewed the animated displays in the downtown store windows.
At the Follett House, a vintage Sandusky house at Wayne and Adams streets that is a museum operated by the Sandusky Library, all four floors were open and every room featured Christmas decorations.
Sitting in the back parlor was a large Christmas tree. Nearby, a holiday wreath hung over the mantelpiece. There also was a piano leaking holiday cheer.
Carol Zoll, a piano teacher, played "Winter Wonderland" and other holiday tunes. Excellent punch and cookies were handed out to visitors. Only a day after Thanksgiving and yet it felt so Christmassy in Sandusky.
Columbus Avenue and Washington Street were blocked off for pedestrians. Cub Scouts Shawn Swopes, 9, and Ryan Swopes, 7, of Pack 44 from St. Paul Lutheran Church, helped tend a fire in a burn barrel in the middle of Columbus.
Cubmaster and dad Rod Swopes said the blaze was an effort to keep everyone warm -- "making sure everyone stays in the holiday spirit."
The holidays are just beginning. Local residents who missed Friday's event can still visit Santa Claus in the Cookie House in Washington Park.
Santa will be kicking back at the house and receiving visitors from 5-8 p.m. today and Sunday, and from 5-8 p.m. on weekends until Christmas, e.g. Dec. 5-7, Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-21.