Imagine a world where the holidays are about joy again. Where days are filled with magic. Imagine a world where the only thing we have to wrestle for is the last piece of pumpkin pie. And where the normal place to camp out is around a fire, not in a store parking lot.
Imagine a world where the holidays are all about people. Where “door busters” refer to our loved ones pouring through the front door. And the four-letter word that defines the season is L-O-V-E not S-A-L-E. What if the only reason to wake up at 3am was to spot a reindeer in the sky? And the only coupons we redeem are for “one more kiss.” Imagine a world where instead of rushing to buy, we rush to give thanks for what we already have.
Imagine a world where we celebrate THANKS GIVING like we used to.
Every year, on the first of November, bright and early in the morning, channel 890 on my local cable network begins their holiday music. As I make room for the Halloween candy in my kitchen, I find myself happily singing along to Christmas songs.
Maybe humming Christmas songs early in November makes most people cringe, but not me. To me, the days that fall between Halloween and Thanksgiving are filled with the holiday spirit the most. This is the only time where there is no pressure, and no stress, physically, mentally and financially to “get everything done” for the holidays. It’s now when I feel those happy, warm, child-like memories of what the holidays used to be. My “cringing” period comes the day before Thanksgiving, when the newspaper is three times the usual size, filled with coupons and savings from Thanksgiving morning until Christmas Eve.
What saddens me about today’s holiday season is that society doesn’t allow us to enjoy Thanksgiving. Remember when all retail stores were closed on Thanksgiving? Even the supermarket? Somehow, we lost the old traditions of family, holiday, and thankfulness.
I recently went into a local appliance store and on the front door was a big note stating that the store will be closed on Thanksgiving, “because Thanksgiving is a day for the celebration of families, friends, and loved ones.” The note went on to say how the company respects the values of family and appreciates the hard work their employees do throughout the year, so they gave all 2,761 employees the day off.
I admit, at first I was so “taken back” by this message because I haven’t seen respect for employees like this is such a long time. Reading this message made me feel good, because for five seconds in my busy life, I felt like a kid during the holidays again, happy, warm, and excited to begin the traditions of family gathering, lots of laughs, lots of food, and tons of love.
As hard as I try to carry on those memorable family holiday traditions for my children, it just isn’t the same. Instead the holidays have turned into the “best money making times of the year” with round-the-clock sales and the crowds they create. Heck, even the coffee shops are open 24 hours, fueling shoppers into a buying frenzy. The “thing to do” these days on Thanksgiving is to eat a good meal quickly and plan your Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping map.
Boy times have changed!
Put the “shopping” piece of the holidays to the side for a minute and focus now on the “hosting” side. This too has changed. The world seemed to have gotten so busy for us that we can’t even enjoy having people over anymore! It seems as if the planning piece of the holidays becomes stressful instead of fun. And once we allow our stress to take over, we begin to lose our values, and the benefits of gathering loved ones and friends over during these special times. Instead of looking forward to sharing our homes with our guests, we tend to focus on the preparation of the gathering instead of what matters the most ~ the people themselves, the holidays, the love and appreciation of the good in our lives, the special memories to be made, and most of all, the thanks ~ to all the people in our lives and the sacrifices they make that help our little world become a better place each and every day.
Let’s put more value on what really matters ~ This season, bring back the holidays:
Stay home on Thanksgiving. Then, support businesses that stayed closed for the holiday so their workers could spend Thanksgiving with their families. And support small and especially local businesses whenever possible.
Be present and in-the-moment for your family and friends. Keep your thoughts on the conversation and the person at hand – try not to allow your mind to wander towards your long list of To-Do lists.
Remember that a well-chosen gift is far more precious than an expensive one. The same is true for items made by you or someone you know.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple meal to comfort, nourish and satiate. Fussy food can take away, rather than enhance, a holiday gathering especially if you, the host, are stressing over the meal.
Smile, even when you don’t mean it. Smiles are contagious and, you never know who might need to “catch one” from you during this stressful time.