Sadly, Thanksgiving has become a pit stop on the way to “black Friday” and Christmas, as people have relegated celebrating this day of thanks to a few hours of overeating and dysfunctional family get-togethers. I miss the days when Thanksgiving truly was celebrated and honored as a significant holiday in its own right, not merely as the prequel to Christmas. There was a time when Thanksgiving was one special day set aside for what should be the daily practices of reflecting and giving thanks for all of the people, blessings, opportunities, etc. in our lives. Now, stores are decked out in Christmas decorations before Halloween, and some stores are now open on Thanksgiving Day to give shoppers a jump on their frenzied spending sprees, and Thanksgiving is overlooked and minimized to the point that most people fast forward through it without a second thought.
To combat this encroachment of Christmas on Thanksgiving, I began fighting back in my own small ways. In college, I banned all Christmas music in our house until December 1, and my roommates were willing to abide by this edict, if only to appease me, or at least, when I was not present. When my daughters were younger, I taught them to yell, “Remember the turkey!”, whenever we spotted a premature display of holiday decorations, and we still do this. You definitely will not see a Christmas decoration or hear a Christmas carol in this house until well after the tryptophan has worn off, for I truly love Thanksgiving and all of its simplicity. I want to savor every minute of it, so, keep your Christmas cheer in check, please, until December is upon us.
That said, I have a confession to make. With the arrival of December 1, rather than counting down the days until Christmas, I am counting down the days until the New Year. New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday of the year, as I have detailed in previous posts. So, my confession is this-I do not particularly enjoy the Christmas season at all. In fact, I somewhat dread it. Every year, I set out to be holly and jolly, and every year, I find myself ready for the holidays to be over almost as soon as it starts. I find this time of the year to be emotionally, financially, physically, and, even, spiritually draining, and I struggle to find and preserve the true meaning of Christmas. While I do enjoy some of the festivities, giving gifts to loved ones, and my children’s excitement and wonder, I am overwhelmed by the need to cram as many parties, gifts, cards, programs, etc. into less than one month’s time. It is as if the other eleven months of the year do not provide ample opportunities for such festivities and activities to take place, and it leaves me longing for a silent night indeed.
Christmas has strayed so very far from its humble beginnings, and each year, try as I might, I cannot seem to jump on the holiday bandwagon or remove myself from it completely. So, I do what I can to keep from being run over by this out-of-control holiday and becoming the modern-day version of either the Grinch or Scrooge, and I take solace in stolen quiet moments alone in front of our Christmas tree, far from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There is something so peaceful about these moments, and it makes me crave the love, peace, and joy that Christmas cards and carols tout, but that get lost among the mountains of gifts, the discarded wrapping paper, the plates of cookies, the parties, the shopping, etc.
So, as another holiday season is fast approaching, I find myself accepting that I may never embrace this holiday like most people do, but in my own way, I hope to keep the Christmas spirit alive in my heart and to spread some Christmas cheer, in addition to drinking some Christmas “cheer”, as needed. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to Thanksgiving, and I hope that, in addition to remembering the turkey, that you will remember all that you have to be thankful for in your life on Thanksgiving Day and every day. To quote Meister Eckhart, ‘If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.’ Thank you!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story