With the constant reminders of the impending arrival of the holidays blaring in our ears and assaulting our sight, it stands to reason that I’m feeling kind of crabby with all of this frivolity. People wonder how one can be so cranky when it’s soon to be the most wonderful time of the year. I’m going to throw my two cents out there on the subject and then you won’t need to irritate me with such mundane questions about my mood.
I was taught that a good person is thankful for what they have in their life. In the New York State educational system of the 1970s I was also reminded of how important it was to be patriotic and thankful that we live in such a wonderful country. The pilgrims made a very dangerous voyage to this new found land and through their hard work, I am lucky to be enjoying turkey as a yankee doodle dandy. I was also reminded that in case the air raid sirens go off, grab your nap carpet and get under your desk, but that’s another blog entry.
This morning I decided to see what “terrestrial radio” has to offer these days. I have limited such listening delights to the sounds of “little radio station” in the city in which I work, but even this little treasure is guilty of what is irking me so. As I jumped around the dial, I landed upon three radio stations that are playing nothing but Christmas music (and don’t start telling me it’s holiday music, because ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is Christmas music). I believe today is something like the 18th of November. Said stations went to all jingle bells on the 1st.
People, it’s not that time of year yet.
Driving through the little towns along my commute I see lit up snowflakes, blinking sleigh bells and tin soldiers bolted to telephone poles.
I have recently read articles, and I’m too lazy to add a link for your perusal so you’re just going to have to trust me on this, that mention that the retailers want to move the Black Friday sales to something earlier, like the 1st of November. Perhaps it was the 4th of July. Nevertheless, they don’t feel they are getting enough holiday traffic soon enough so what the retailers want to do is extend the holiday shopping season so that they can rack in more bucks. So the Christmas message is this – skip that whole Thanksgiving thing, it’s not important. Don’t be thankful for what you have, just run out and get more, more, MORE!
I don’t like that.
You see, I’m spoiled. I know I’m spoiled. I heartily admit that I am very fortunate that we are in a comfortable financial situation but in the back of my mind I know that it can be taken away at a moment’s notice at any time. I don’t take any of it for granted; I could give it all up if I had to and most importantly, I am very thankful for what we have. There are times that I don’t seem very thankful for that which we have, both materialistically and in other ways, but by gods, don’t skip over the importance of my opportunity to sit down with family and friends and tell them how thankful I am to be part of this whole life experience with them. I learned long ago that filling your home with expensive gadgets is a fleeting joy at best and that spending the entire day under the covers with your lover, ignoring the world outside of that moment, is much more preferable. I figured out that buying your mom an expensive serving set will make her smile, but singing her a song at the piano will make her heart fill with happiness. I know that sitting down and listening to a person tell you why they’re thankful, and then reciprocating, is a precious moment.
In today’s society we are all about what we can obtain. I think we should focus more on what we can celebrate, even if it’s celebrating that we are just getting by with what we have. And by glossing over Thanksgiving Day (or as we now call it in respect to our Canadian friends and family, “American Thanksgiving”) and force feeding us the Christmas holiday earlier than intended, you’re telling us that giving thanks is not that important anymore.
For the record, our holiday shopping is already under way (online shopping allows us that luxury without being subjected to the barrage of low-fidelity Christmas wails full of static). Our plans for our yearly shopping trip have been made. We know where we are going and that will take place in November. But in contrast to the neighbors that have their flashing icicles lit, the Santa Claus that randomly inflates and deflates over a blow up baby Jesus and a lit up reindeer that flashes faster than a Studio 54 disco ball, we are going to take the time to properly decorate our house in a tasteful, respectful manner for Thanksgiving. Menus will be planned, off-the-grid moments will be celebrated and good times will be shared.
And I will be thankful that we are able to do so.