Alice’s note: This story first appeared in my blog The Bright Lights of Muleshoe on November 23, 2011.
I like Thanksgiving. I like the fact that it is a distinctly American holiday. I like the turkey and dressing and all the side dishes. I like the family sounds and the football sounds. I like the crispness of the weather. I like giving thanks and counting my blessings.
But Thanksgiving gets lost in the retail frenzy to sell stuff. Halloween seems to have gotten bigger lately and starting sooner. People are decorating outside more and costumes seem more important than ever. Then the minute after October 31st, Halloween, Fall, and Thanksgiving go on the sale rack to make room for Christmas.
The Day of Thanks is overshadowed by the overhyped Black Friday sales. And what an unpleasant name for it; I know why they call it that, but it sounds like Depression Day or something, which to me it is. Mobs of people with mostly unhappy looks on their faces fighting the crowds for superfluous stuff all in the name of saving a buck. I do appreciate the fact that merchants need business to stay in business, but the commercialization of Christmas has really gotten out of hand and overshadows the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place. But then you know that. Starting Christmas in November, and really, even before that, pretty much devalues what Christmas should be about, the birth of Christ, and takes away much of the significance of Thanksgiving, other than it is just another big meal to get out of the way before we go shopping.
So this year try something different other than thinking about shopping. Look forward to the Thanksgiving meal. Invite someone to share your table who, for whatever reason, might be alone on that day. Turn off the TV during the meal, put away the cell phones, and enjoy the people who are sharing in your bounty. Do something cheesy, like actually taking turns naming what you have to be thankful for.
And we do all have things to be thankful for, no matter what trials and tribulations we might have endured during the past year. We are truly blessed, be it by something practical that we probably take for granted, like a working water heater, or something as grand and irreplaceable as our health. But then, we tend to take that for granted, too, until we lose it.
But that is the whole point-we have so much to be thankful for, we tend to forget what we have been blessed with. Which leads us back to Christmas, which, now that we have appropriately celebrated Thanksgiving, will come in all due course with its proper emphasis.