It seems like the rush to the holidays gets faster and faster every year. I think I saw Halloween ephemera at back-to-school time and I know that I’ve been seeing Christmas decorations since at least that time as well. Last Sunday, when we were at church with G’s mom, they had a big old tree with lights in the sanctuary. It was covered with hats and mittens, but still. Can’t we even get to Advent anymore in the church?
Even at the seminary they were putting up the Christmas trees in the cafeteria last Thursday!
Despite all this commercialism and rush to consumerism, Thanksgiving stands betwixt Halloween’s specters and ghouls and the Ghost of Christmas Presents. A little befuddled, maybe like a turkey, this little holiday stands around blinking because it can’t quite get the attention it’s neighbors get.
It’s not exactly a religious holiday, it doesn’t have great clothes and there are no great activities associated with it. Unless you count eating. It doesn’t fall on any church, synagogue or mosque schedule of worship, but those three great faith traditions all hold giving thanks in high regard – it’s a spiritual discipline but it’s not a unified religious festival. It’s a civil holiday, instituted by the state that shall remain separated from any one religion. In fact, the standardization of the celebration is not that old of an American tradition. Probably you could look up the details on Wikipedia or something.
I find it interesting that we have not been able to figure out a better way to commercialize the holiday. Sure, it’s been pressed to excess and gluttony in the celebration of abundance. And all good Women of the House worth their salt are spending this weekend pouring over their receipts (that’s southern for recipes), chewing their nails wondering if they should try a different stuffing or maybe a new way to cook the sweet potatoes. Or maybe, risk scandal by not serving green beans in cream of mushroom soup with friend onions on the top at all!
My hunch is that we are uncomfortable with the thought of really pausing in our rush to riches to give thanks for the abundance we have. It is a risky endeavor, for by acknowledging the abundance we also have to acknowledge the inequity with which it is distributed. And then what?
So we stay busy, distracting ourselves from the all too apparent fact that we have enough and our neighbor does not. We lose ourselves in the preparations and the family drama and the age-old arguments over hatchets that should have been buried decades ago. And we wonder why we’re stressed and depressed.
Me? I’m no different really. I’m hoping to guilt the y-chromosome-d ones I live with to actually clean the other three rooms on the main floor so that I can focus on not coughing on the food.
In the meantime, here’s a list of a few things for which I’m grateful this week:
- Sick days. I’m grateful that I can take a whole day and a half off work in the same week and not risk losing my job. I’ve mentioned this before but MOST working people in the USA do not get paid sick time.
- DS1 being home from college – He was home for 12 hours anyway. He left Saturday morning to visit friends in Morris, MN. But I got to see him for a few hours on Friday night and Saturday morning. And we didn’t have a big shouting match about me not letting him take the car and go at 10p.m.
- For real Sudafed – or it’s generic equivalent. The over-the-counter stuff didn’t do a thing against this cold and I am glad that the real deal will at least take the pressure off my ears.
- For sleep when I’m sick.
- For my happy light. We’re approaching mid-winter, kids and the happy light is keeping me from teh crazy. Barely, but barely is sometimes good enough.
- That SrK&J have traveled safely from Mexico to Chicago and will soon be home here in the TC.
- That SrS is doing so well in her new job.
If you have a little extra: