Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, and not just for the endless array of casseroles, gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, dessert (and dessert wine). It’s a time that we get to enjoy at a slower pace, surrounded by friends and family, wearing stretchy yoga pants, watching football and just enjoying each other’s company. Right? RIGHT?!
I have never been a Black Friday shopper. I hate the mall, I hate the crowds, and I really don’t enjoy shopping (my nineteen year old self just rolled her eyes at me…) Some people love Black Friday; the thrill of the hunt, getting up at 3am, standing in line, fighting over Tickle Me Elmo dolls and arguing with the barista when she forgets the triple shot of espresso.
And each year, stores open earlier, stay open longer, offer more insanely unreasonable sales to drive the hoards of crazies through their doors. Thanksgiving is no longer a holiday to be celebrated; it’s become a minor preamble that we rush through just to get to the 100 MILE PER HOUR GIVE ME ALL THE STUFF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EXPLOSION IN YOUR FACE. NOW WITH MORE STUFF!!!
The commercialism of the holiday season is overwhelming. There are too many screaming TV commercials with blinking lights, bells, dancing elves, annoying music and size 72 font prices for me to handle. This time of year is not about getting a Hamilton Beach crockpot for 83% off retail price, just because you can.
People, you don’t need this stuff. You have enough stuff. You don’t even have room for the new stuff. You can’t even name all of the stuff you already have. Do you know what you really need to do? Slow. The. Hell. Down.
We wait until after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas tree. We wait until after Thanksgiving to do any Christmas shopping. We want to enjoy each moment, day, holiday, gathering, activity, as it comes. If you’re constantly racing to the next event, can you truly enjoy and appreciate where you are right now? Stop. Sit with each other. Talk. Laugh. Drink more wine. Eat more pumpkin roll. Enjoy your time. And be thankful.
We have instilled a “Get One, Give One” mantra in our household. If you get a new toy, you must give an old toy to Goodwill. It’s important to us that our children understand that receiving gifts can be fun, but giving is so much better. Because if you feel a thousand rays of sunshine happy when you get something, don’t you want someone else to experience that same feeling?
We are also making an effort to spend less because, again, stop it with the stuff. I have a decent list of DIY Christmas gifts I have put together over the past few months (friends and family, be prepared…) If spending money on a gift, we are considering things that are practical, enjoyable and most importantly, meaningful. And if I actually go through with any of this DIY business, rest assured there will be a post about it, wink wink.
We will focus on our time together, more than ever. Ignore Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram and television. You have enough sugar cookie recipes; you will never get around to making those votive holders (unless it’s a gift, then have at it…), and there’s no need in making yourself feel holiday guilt by comparing your tree, house, gifts, etc., to those of your 1,872 “friends” on Facebook. Look at each other. Spend time with each other. Put down the smartphone, close the laptop, and connect to something other than your wi-fi for a change.
This really is a time of thanks; if you stop for a moment and take inventory of your life, you will find you are immensely, tremendously, incredibly blessed. And it’s not just the stuff you have; it’s the people, the relationships, the memories, the time together, the experiences, the laughter, the love.
Ferris Bueller said it pretty well back in 1986:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Taking it easy,