Even as President Obama relaxes with his family in Hawaii over the holidays, he knows what's on the horizon when he returns to work in Washington.
He will start where he left off, facing new skirmishes with Congress over a push to extend a temporary cut in payroll taxes. That temporary extension was approved just days before Christmas after a high-stakes gamble that finished only after most of Congress had left for the year.
After bringing their grievances to the doors of Congress on Tuesday, protesters from across the nation plan to take aim at Washington's other vilified powerbrokers: lobbyists.
By lunchtime on Wednesday, storied K Street, which is home to the lobbying arms of many large corporations and industries, is expected to be choked with as many as 3,000 community activists, unemployed protesters, union members and Occupy Wall Street participants.
It was one year ago that the Tea Party movement helped Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives. With the presidential election a year away, the movement finds itself searching for ways to have the same kind of impact this time around.
The Tea Party celebrated on election night last year with candidates like Rand Paul, who captured a Senate seat in Kentucky.
"Tonight there's a Tea Party tidal wave, and we're sending a message to them," Paul said in his victory speech.
If you walk into the Safeway near Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown, you'll see a small display of Halloween decorations: witches hats, haunted houses, jack-o-lanterns — the works. That might not seem so strange if it were October or even late September. But it hasn't even hit Labor Day yet.
Safeway isn't the only retailer getting a jump on the holiday. Across the city, shoppers will find Halloween merchandise in Walgreens, Claire's Accessories, Target and Macy's.
The National Retail Federation doesn't have hard numbers on this trend, but the group does have anecdotal data.