So what if there's still a turkey leg in the fridge? Who cares if the Hecht's department store in Friendship Heights still has signs up from its Thanksgiving sale?

Hanukah began Friday night, and Christmas is right around the corner. This is the shortest holiday season in six years, and there's little time to wallow in post-Thanksgiving stupor.

"We only have three weeks," said Scott Rowson, 26. "We've got to shop for the family and shop for each other."

Like many people, Rowson and his wife, Amber, 27, of Alexandria had barely digested their turkey before diving into the next holiday. On Friday, the couple trekked to Ticonderoga Farms in South Riding to cut their Christmas tree. The farm was the third stop of the day. They had already been to Home Depot for decorations and to the post office for Christmas card stamps. They planned to decorate the tree that afternoon.

Amber Rowson ticked off four parties they planned to attend in the next two weekends.

"Everything is booked up," she said.

Few know that better than District resident Michael Karlan, 34, one of the founders and event coordinators of the D.C. Society of Young Professionals. The night before Thanksgiving, he organized a throwdown for 200 at the Shark Club in Bethesda. He left the party at 2 a.m. to drive to New York for turkey dinner with his family and returned late Friday to prepare for a holiday party in Philadelphia tonight.

"It's immediately after Thanksgiving, and we're already having our holiday cocktail events," he said. With the shortened season, "you don't have the luxury of letting the thing sit for a few days."

Karlan's challenge: cramming a month full of festivities into the three weeks between now and Christmas. The Enchanted Candlelight Holiday Visit and Campfire at Mount Vernon on Dec. 8. A holiday cocktail tasting at Ozio Martini & Cigar Lounge in the District two days later. A gala at the Smithsonian that weekend.

Some nights are double-booked. Christmas caroling at Ford's Theatre is the same night as the young professional group's holiday shindig at the club MCCXXIII. Pencil in soup kitchen time, family gatherings and office parties, and the schedule becomes tighter than J.Lo's jeans.

"It's a lot of coordinating," Karlan said.

Even those entertaining at home are feeling the squeeze.

The quick holiday turnaround mandated a marathon cooking session for Dan Chenok, 38, of Bethesda. He and his wife had Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people and then did it all over again -- only this time with potato latkes -- for 10 people the next night to celebrate the start of Hanukah.

Chenok's two young daughters were blithely oblivious to their parents' toil. Yesterday, the girls romped in the cottony snow around the Christmas tree in Mazza Gallerie while Chenok did last-minute shopping for his wife at the Ann Taylor store. The children were thrilled just to have their grandparents in town for both holidays, Chenok said.

But not everyone is hearing silver bells just yet.

Yesterday, Jerome Bialecki, 43, had two fires going in his Ellicott City home. There are no Christmas decorations up -- the family is still recovering from the 37-pound Thanksgiving turkey.

"We're only two steps away from getting pumpkins and things off the porch," Bialecki said. "We're still in full fall costume."

Eventually, he'll string Christmas lights around the house and set up a 5-by-8-foot train garden with his four children. Maybe they'll do it this weekend, maybe next weekend.

But that would never do for Karlan, who brought his laptop and BlackBerry on his 48-hour trip home over Thanksgiving. Even Christmas parties are already a bit passe -- soooo 2002.

"As soon as we get back from Thanksgiving," he said, "we start pushing New Year's."

With only 24 shopping days left until Christmas, Charlie Osterhoudt and daughter Hannah, 7, debate the choice of a Christmas tree in Columbia.Brothers John and Martin DiCicco prepare to leave with the Christmas tree they picked out and loaded up at Stalcup Farms in McLean.The wreaths, trees and other Christmas decorations are out front and ready to move at Stalcup General Store in McLean.