Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thankful for Thanksgiving
The Halloween decorations came down, and the Christmas decorations went up. At least that’s what I discovered on recent trips to the local mall and big-box stores.
But what happened to Thanksgiving? What happened to the day we Americans once set aside to be thankful for the good things in our lives?
Each year Americans seem to begin the end-of-the-year holiday season a little earlier. It seems that life moves from the celebration of ghosts and goblins to the arrival of Santa Claus. Maybe it’s just me, but I miss Thanksgiving.
I’ve always enjoyed having one day to simply be with people I care about. As a child, we drove from the city to rural Middle Tennessee to spend the day at Grandma’s with a house full relatives. We ate. We talked. We played. We hiked. We laughed. We enjoyed good food and the warmth of Grandma’s old farmhouse. We were simply – thankful.
I drove down my street the morning after Halloween. Most houses still had pumpkins, hay bales, and scarecrows decorating their front porches. But further down the street I saw a neighbor had already installed a variety of Christmas yard decorations, lights, and ornaments. He stood on a ladder putting the finishing touches on a rooftop Santa and sleigh. I didn’t wave.
I turned on the radio and discovered the local oldies station would be playing Christmas and holiday music 24-7 for the next two months! Seriously? The leaves were still on the trees, flowers still bloomed in pots, and it was warm enough to ride with the car windows down. I wanted to scream! At this rate, I thought, I’ll be sick of Christmas before December arrives!
Last week I heard the term Black Thursday for the first time. Seriously? How greedy is that? Seems like retailers can’t wait even a day to separate consumers from their money.
And what about the people who must work on Black Thursday, who won’t get even one day of rest and time to be thankful before the holiday frenzy begins?
So this year, like last year, I’m staging a personal rebellion. We’re planning to celebrate Thanksgiving in a BIG way. Our house is decorated with pumpkins, turkeys, and lots of fall color. No decorated trees, no colored lights, no snowmen. Not yet.
I’ll spend time buying groceries, cleaning, setting out extra chairs, gathering serving pieces, and cooking. I’ll pull out recipes for Mom’s favorite cranberry salad, Sue’s sweet potatoes, Grandma’s pecan pie, and Dad’s favorite yeast rolls. Things may get a little hectic at times (Ever cooked a turkey with the giblet bag still inside?), but the effort will be SO worth it. For one day I’ll savor and enjoy a houseful of company. We’ll talk, laugh, and catch up with family members from other states.
But most of all, I’ll be thankful. Thankful for family and friends, thankful for little daily blessings, and thankful to live in a country where we enjoy so many freedoms.
Holiday shopping can wait. Happy Thanksgiving!