Once again, Thanksgiving has come and gone. The table’s been cleared, the dishes washed and put away and, while the smell of turkey lingers and leftovers remain in the ice box, Christmas insists on moving in.
I love, love, love fall. I love the colors. I love the smells. And how awesome is it that Thanksgiving would come during my favorite season! Thanksgiving – a time that is set aside for us to focus on all those things we are most thankful for. Sad, isn’t it, we had to create a holiday to get people to slow down long enough to think about what they have to be grateful for. Anyway, it’s during this time of year that people’s hearts tend to soften; they seem friendlier, kinder to one another, more patient. Because I love this time of year so much, I really want to make the most of it, I want it to stay around a while. We live in southeast Texas so the weather certainly cooperates, no snow clouds moving in. While Christmas trees are going up all over the country, I refuse to put my tree up until our family has celebrated Thanksgiving with the traditional turkey and dressing meal. I have always wanted my children to appreciate this beautiful time of year and the spirit that is Thanksgiving. This is also why I only make dressing on Thanksgiving.
Ok, so, we have celebrated Thanksgiving and now my tree is up; up AND decorated. I am so not ready for Christmas! I have very few presents and the truth is, I don’t even have a list! I’m not going to panic; I’m NOT. I’m going to get in some kind of “zone” and I’m going to wade through the traffic, fight my way through the thousands of shoppers, purchase my gifts from the little that is left on the store shelves, and enjoy the Christmas season.
You might think it strange that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday instead of Christmas; most people do. I stopped liking Christmas when it started becoming more of a business than a celebration of the birth of the King of Kings. I used to love buying presents for my family and friends. It used to be a joy to shop at my leisure for the people I love the most. I found myself choosing gifts that had meaning, reminded them of their childhood, or finding out what their secret wishes were and making them come true. The “spirit” of Christmas was always about the spirit of giving out of a heart of love for me.
Over the years, the spirit of Christmas has gotten crowded out by the demand for specific “things” – or everything. Everyone has a list. Children not only expect to get something from their list, they expect to get everything on their list; that’s really hard for me. There is a sense of entitlement in our culture today; children and adults alike think they are entitled to get everything they want when they want it. Truth is, that makes me not want to get anything for them at all. (I can be ugly like that.) So, when I shop for Christmas now, I go with this list and with the fear that if I don’t get everything on their list, I’m going to disappoint them. Or, how about the aunt, uncle, sister, brother that measures the worth of everything he/she’s given by the number of dollars it costs – no pressure there. It’s not FUN anymore! It doesn’t bring me JOY anymore. It’s work; I dread it. So, am I in the Christmas spirit? Not yet, but I’ll get there. Maybe I’ll start tomorrow.