Thanksgiving is the holiday that’s just too good for its own good. This unassuming holiday is sandwiched between holidays that are the two biggest bullies of the year. Okay, perhaps that is a little harsh, but think about it.
Halloween has become the little giant of commercialism. Whole retail stores pop up a few months before Halloween and then disappear as quickly as they came. I never owned a store-bought Halloween costume. Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever having dressed up for Halloween or going trick or treating! We did live in a very rural setting, and people just didn’t go trick or treating on Halloween.
But now, children are asked what they want to be for Halloween just like they are asked what they want to be when they grow up! And adults are even worse. The retail stores are really for adults. At least I think they are; I’ve never been in one. As you can tell, Halloween is not among my favorite holidays.
And what about Christmas? I’ve seen homes decorated for Christmas in early November. It’s like people are going straight from Halloween into Christmas! I’ve even seen homes that leave up their Christmas decorations until almost spring! Well, maybe not that long, but when 25% of the year is about Christmas, I’m thinking that’s a little too much. And we won’t even talk about the excessive shopping for Christmas, something that some people do year-round.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against Christmas. I love giving gifts, especially for my grandchildren. And I try especially hard to give gifts that my family members actually want, need and use. I love Christmas music. It lifts the spirits and brings back wonderful childhood memories.
But, let’s get back to Thanksgiving, the introvert of holidays. It doesn’t stand a chance. I believe celebrating the true spirit of Thanksgiving helps ease you into the spirit of Christmas. By being thankful for your blessings, you can then approach Christmas with the joy of sharing. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of Christmas decorating and shopping that we sometimes forget the real reason for the season.
I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for some time now, and it’s been a spiritually rewarding experience. Every evening, I write five things for which I’m grateful. I write them in complete sentences, starting with “I am grateful for”. This practice has made me more aware of the little things I encounter every day that are a blessing to me in some way.
Of course, I find myself often being grateful for family members. But I have grown from just saying I’m grateful for them to seeing qualities, character traits or good deeds that fill my heart with thankfulness.
I’m also more aware of little things I previously overlooked that enrich my life. Now, I often pause to be thankful in the moment when I see a beautiful cardinal at the bird feeder or watch two squirrels playfully scampering up a pine tree.
All I’m saying is that if we give Thanksgiving a chance to be more than a turkey feast with family, it can enrich our lives throughout the year.