A friend of mine told me she saw a vehicle on the road this week with a pair of those silly decorative reindeer antlers poking out the side windows and a red nose on the grille. As she got closer, she recognized the man behind the wheel.

“It was Santa Claus!” she said, sounding about 7 years old.

Evidently in town for an early gig, the jolly driver was a reminder that, yes, things are definitely different in December – even with no snow on the ground.

The FedEx and UPS trucks seem to be on a continuous loop around the neighborhoods. (The dogs may even have grown weary of barking at them.)

Handbags or wallets are home to dated shopping coupons to use now and dated shopping coupons to use post-holiday.

The jingle, jingle you hear may be those little promotional buttons you picked up at checkout at J.C. Penney rattling around the bottom of your purse.

And you’re lucky if you like peppermint, because this time of year you can have it in everything – from a Skinny Mocha coffee drink to a not-so-skinny Christmas cookie.

I’ve made a few other observations in recent days while out and about or talking to others:

• Maybe it’s just me, but of all the songs I hear being played here and there, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” must be at the top of the list.

• Silver decorations are getting some competition from gold ones this season, on everything from ornaments to decorative florals. Silver and gold, silver and gold … now I have another song in my head, thanks to Burl Ives and Rudolph.

• Anyone who wears some type of holiday tie in public will likely welcome compliments or comments. Offer some.

• The one type of cookie you decide not to bake this year will be the one someone was expecting.

• The gift-wrapping tape will not be there when you need it.

• No house needs another coffee mug but never are they cuter than they are this time of year in stores.

• If you’re attending a concert at your child’s school and haven’t seen many of the kids in a while, prepare to be shocked. They have grown.

• When I see a front yard filled with three, four or more inflatable decorations, I sometimes wonder how it all got started for the people who live there.

• When I see strands of icicle lights hung way up high from the roof of a house and a section of the bulbs aren’t working, I feel sad for those people.

Finally, if you bump into Santa somewhere – and you will – remember you’re never too old to give him a wave and wish him a “Merry Christmas,” too.

But if I walk into one more place and hear “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” being played … well, I really can’t stay.