Maybe I am just paying attention to what cynics say, but I've read/heard more lately about how we should not celebrate Thanksgiving, that it is a holiday based on horrible acts against others, and Christmas is all about the presents, rather than the true reason to celebrate. And I admit, I actually have spent time pondering these issues and even toyed with the idea that they were right.
But tonight, I went to Home Depot. The place was bustling with activity. People were buying decorations to make their homes pretty for the season, others were buying gifts, while some of us were just buying some things that we needed, like 5 gallon bottles of water.
Anyway, Christmas music was playing and I realized as I left that I felt bouncier (?) than when I went in and that I had burst into song in the parking lot, the tail end of the last song I heard as I pushed my bottle of water to the car.
That's when it hit me. These are not holidays that are bad, these are holidays that are good. When else during the year can we truly expect that the majority of our country is sitting down to an almost identical meal? Even if you don't particularly care for turkey, it is the one day out of the year that you will eat enough to make your host/hostess feel appreciated. And what is wrong with that?
We all stop and give thanks, we take time to be with family, we take time to enjoy a meal together, to remember those who could not be with us, those who have gone on before us. Is there another time during the year that this happens?
If we were a Middle Eastern country, we would have lots of similar holidays or religious observances. For us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about family. New Year's is not family holiday event for most. The 4th of July isn't. Memorial Day? Not hardly. Valentine's? No.
I think we need these holidays. While we are not having rough times like my parents did growing up, it still is not an easy time in history. Unemployment remains high, prices are high, threats are high, what part of our life is easy right now?
I think we need a month of time focusing and planning on what we can do for others, planning and preparing for times with friends and family, decorating our homes to look bright and cheery. It is the time of year when night comes way too early. Why not make our homes and the time in them fun and festive. I don't think there are very many adults that look at Christmas as a time to get something, instead, I think we enjoy giving.
My sister invited us to her house for Thanksgiving. This is just the second time in my life that I have not had to help prepare a meal. It is a huge treat. But when we all sat down at the table together, I realized we could have been almost any family throughout our country. How wonderful is that, something that unites us, since there is so little that does! We argue about every detail of our government, our families, our healthcare, but this one day we all stopped long enough to say thanks.
Now we jump right into planning for Christmas. There were plenty who proclaimed that we should not be shopping for such a materialistic holiday as Christmas.
Well I shopped and I enjoyed it. You know why? I got to shop with my daughters, my nieces, my sister, and even my little great nephew. It was wonderful spending time with them, seeing things they liked, hoping I could remember and surprise them later with items they had selected. It was fun. I love having a reason to do nice things, a motivator in fact to do them.
I'm tuning my radio to the Christmas channel and I plan to sing with every song. This month passes way too quickly and I want to enjoy every minute of it. I hope others will too.