It’s that time of the year! Holiday explosion. Everywhere you look, decorations of Santa and hollies and snowflakes as far as the eye can see. So many fantasy reasons to smile. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and reason to smile. In my book it beats out all others. The food selection is incredible. I mean come on. Baked macaroni AND my mom’s famous dressing, with a healthy helping of cranberry sauce. OK, two helpings. I literally prepare mentally at least a week before. And closer to the date I eat less. I have to make room.
It’s a time when families gather, new babies and grandparents in the same room. All family disagreements and issues (we all have them) are put aside at least for one afternoon. What could be better? Food and family are all you need for a good time.
So why, does Thanksgiving seem to get less and less attention every year. You step into a store on November 1st, hours after Halloween has officially ended and you see Christmas gifts already on the shelf. The waving and dancing Santa greets you at the entrance. You drive down the street and large over exaggerated Christmas trees and angels hanging from street lights are out. Already?
Is there a purpose for why society skips over this holiday where we can eat all day and be with family and friends. Don’t tell me its because we still have a problem with the way Native Americans and Pilgrims were portrayed in Christopher Columbus-styled stories. Trust me, the word is out and our Indigenous sisters have set the record straight on who ‘discovered’ who. By middle school students know the real story. I grew up knowing the truth. My household made it a day to celebrate the unconditional love of family and friends.
Still leaves me with the question. Why do we skip the focus on Thanksgiving? Why is this holiday receiving less and less attention every year? One day, while walking through a local store I experienced an epiphany: there’s no money in it! You don’t buy loved one gifts until after Thanksgiving. Although, Black Friday, which is a-whole-notha article, now starts on Wednesday evening. Unbelievable!
Easter is even now just like Christmas. Incredibly materialistic. Have you seen the latest Easter baskets? All you ever need is some jelly beans, decorated eggs, a few pieces of chocolate, and you are good to go. Now they have toys in them! And I mean serious toys! Giant stuffed animals, basketballs, nail art kits, large construction vehicles, baby dolls with stroller. Obviously the message of love and appreciation has dissipated here as well.
What is the real meaning of Thanksgiving and Easter? Religious belief or just human nature. That’s truly an individual’s choice. These days give us an opportunity to show our admiration and gratitude of what is actually going right in our lives. Do you have a warm bed to sleep on? Do you have someone who wonders where you are if you don’t show up to work or post on Facebook for a few days? Do you have a beautiful family that makes you smile even after the hardest day. Do you have a pet that snuggles you even when you may be under the weather? Does your car get you from Point A to Point B? Were you spared from recent tragic events of natural or man made?
Times are so difficult and stressful right now that I for one am grateful to be grateful. In a recent article titled 2018’s Most and Least Stressed States, guess where North Carolina is? Number 20. I refuse to allow that to bring me down. There’s a light at the end of every tunnel. Even when my teenager looks at me crazy when I say do the dishes, I am grateful she talks me to death about K-Pop music in the next breath. When my students don’t complete a homework assignment. I am grateful when they request my help in completing an early college application. When bills keep coming, I’m glad I can still call my mom and hear her voice. I could go on and on. I’m sure we all could. At least that’s my hope.
So let’s fight back the ones wanting to rush us to go out and spend money to buy Christmas gifts months before the calendar indicates that time of the year. I suggest three simple things in order to do so:
- Write someone a quick note and tell them how much you appreciate them. If you are like me challenge yourself and find that person you struggle to do so with. Trust me it will make you feel better and shock them.
- Refuse to participate in the rush of getting into the gift-giving holiday. Appreciate the beauty of life as is. Be present right now. Count the little blessings you have everyday. Acknowledge them out loud and I bet you will catch yourself smiling.
- Last, but not least, appreciate yourself. I personally can’t believe the experiences I’ve survived. Thank yourself for not giving up. Tell yourself it’s ok to cry and even have a moment of worry. But in the end, celebrate the courage it takes to become a better you and that deserves a pat on the back.
Do this anytime of the year!
I don’t put my decorations or tree up until after Thanksgiving. And I have 3. So I give every holiday its due focus, maybe a little extra. That includes Thanksgiving.