But everyone in my house has moved on. They were done with Thanksgiving and turkey by early Friday morning. Honestly, by the time we finished the turkey on Thursday, my kids were ready to go shopping.
Although I don’t like the idea of shopping on Thursday or Friday of Thanksgiving, it was impossible to keep my kids, along with hundreds (thousands, millions) of others, out of Wal-Mart on Thursday evening.
Who would have guessed that a simple holiday could be turned into madness and mayhem with a frenzy of early Christmas activity? It’s as if people have completely bypassed the Thanksgiving holiday in favor of one more day of potential savings on a bunch of stuff that no one needs.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is simple. Family, food, and football: what else does one need to really celebrate a holiday? When I was in the fourth grade, I won a school-wide poetry contest for my poem about Thanksgiving:
“What about that poor old turkey, being stuffed?
Don’t you think he’s had enough?
Poor old thing needs some rest,
So he can look his very best.”
Lame, I know, but for a fourth grader, I think that’s pretty good. Besides, I wanted to celebrate my favorite holiday. I’ve always loved getting together with my family, even though the outcome is always unpredictable.
You never know who will drop the pie and splatter pumpkin all over grandma’s kitchen. You could never guess which relative will pass out in front of the TV, from too much spiked eggnog. It’s impossible to tell which relatives will not speak for the entire next year, following an argument about stuffing. Yes, it’s definitely my favorite holiday, with all that family togetherness.
Somehow, though, Thanksgiving has taken a back seat to Christmas. It’s not as though Thanksgiving ever took a front seat. It’s always been the humble holiday, sandwiched between the two best kid-holidays ever. Halloween, with costumes, candy and late night wandering is a perennial favorite for kids and adults. And Christmas. What holiday could ever compare with Christmas? Presents, Santa Claus, food, decorations; these things make Christmas the ultimate in celebrations. And somewhere, nearly forgotten like the middle child of a large family, sits Thanksgiving. There isn’t much to say about Thanksgiving, other than people eat a lot of food. And many of us watch a lot of football.
Besides the food, family and football, though, what is the purpose of Thanksgiving? It has become the kick-off to the holiday shopping season, and retailers are capitalizing on that by opening earlier and earlier, until they interrupt holiday dinner with shopping madness.
Underneath all the pre-Christmas preparations, it is easy to forget why we have a Thanksgiving feast. Remember the history lessons about the pilgrims and the Indians? Remember how two groups of people came together to celebrate the bounty of the earth, to put aside their differences and share a meal? Those are the things we think about when we think about Thanksgiving.
Giving thanks. That is the true reason we celebrate Thanksgiving, and perhaps it is a good idea to take a moment to be thankful before the glutinous spending that will happen in December.
Let us pause, as December unfolds, to remember those things for which we are truly thankful.
Every life is different, every circumstance is different, and every family is different, but there are still things we can find to be grateful for every day. Take a moment each morning to focus on something you are thankful for, even if it seems tiny and insignificant.
Regardless of who your family is, or who your friends are, there are people on this earth who love you. You are not alone, and you are not forgotten. You are valuable to someone, just as people are valuable to you, and for that, we can each be thankful.
Ease into the holiday madness slowly, and try to remember to give thanks in all things. It will make help you appreciate the blessings you have today, and perhaps fill a void that you might otherwise seek to fill with stuff.