Monday, November 29, 2010

Continuing the Season of Thanksgiving

I know people have been complaining about the commercialization of Christmas for a long time, so it's not anything new. I have always enjoyed the holiday season, but the whole expensive gift-giving thing was never really part of it for me.  The bustle and craziness- not really a problem for me.  About 25 years ago, I gave up on the ideal holiday decorating scheme, opting instead to let the children have their way, so no stress there, either.  (Except for my little ceramic bears that sit atop their little letter blocks that spell *N*O*E*L*.  Those I fought to maintain in the proper order.  For some reason, the older boys could never let them be, and it always irked me.  If said boys would come to visit this year at Christmas, I wouldn't even fuss about that. Promise!)  I know people stress themselves over holiday expectations, but really, I just relax and enjoy them.  I've even discovered that the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is a great time to kick back and do the holiday baking. 

I know that Black Friday has been around for a while, too.  But in recent years, with people getting crushed in the aisles of Walmart, I have to wonder- what is WRONG with us?  I know that every store offers phenominally great deals sometime between Thanksgiving dinner and early the next morning, but what kind of society have we become, that we are willing to subject ourselves to this annual frenzy?  What fuels the thing? What drives people to take what used to be a delightful day for most people to relax and enjoy family and friends- with no need to cook, since there were always plenty of leftovers- and turn it into a marathon of crazy acquisition?

This year, as the ads piled up in the recycling bin, it really got to me. I don't want to say it made me angry; I'm really not sure just what it is.  Partly disgust, if I will be honest, but more than that, I guess I'm really sad.  Sad that a weekend that was once set aside to acknowledge that we have been given much to celebra"te and be thankful for has been transformed into a "Give me more!" event. 

I try to teach my kids to be grateful. My screen saver actually scrolls the words "Give Thanks" as a reminder, because I don't want to forget.  I have so much to be thankful for... so I've decided that this year, as I celebrate the fact that my Savior was born, I want to keep my focus on that holiday that just passed.  I won't be doing much shopping, but I hope in a happy way, I can share love and thankfulness with the people around me.