It’s the middle of December, and, as if you haven’t been reminded of it every day since Thanksgiving, the number of days remaining until you’ve blown your chance to make up for the Christmas-themed underwear you gave somebody last year are ticking down at roughly the same rate your waistline is expanding. The very last thing on your mind is Spoleto, right? You’ve still got five months and 16 days to worry about that other seasonal ritual. Except you don’t, not really. Spoleto pauses for no man, jolly fat elves included.

On January 2, hungover Charlestonians will get a mid-year dose of the Southeast’s most ostentatious annual arts event to swallow with their Pepto Bismol as they return to work. That’s when Spoleto Festival USA plans to announce its 2008 artistic program, after which tickets for the next festival officially go on sale. It’s also probably about the exact moment your December credit card bill will come due – an awkward bit of timing, to be sure, but that’s how they’ve done it for the past two years, and ticket sales for both those years have busted records all over the place. So much for conventional wisdom.

Nobody but tight-lipped Spoleto admins and, maybe, God know what director Nigel Redden has in store for the 32nd festival come next May. And that’s not likely to change until Jan. 2. So if you’re looking for word on what to expect from this blog, you’ll have better luck with a Ouija board. (That’s what I’m using, anyway. If I can only reach Gian Carlo Menotti, I’m set.)