November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving for Christmas

Every year, I make a mental plan for getting through the commercial Christmas season (that is, the day after Halloween until mid-January). Usually, the way consumerism overwhelms the spirit of the season - and the way it dominates the airwaves and public space we all share, whether we credit the birth of Baby Jesus as special or not - makes me want to simply leave north America for a few months. Even then, though, I know the deeply ingrained drive to buy useless stuff for friends, family and acquaintences would follow me, gnawing at my sub-conscious. What I really want is to celebrate Christmas the way I do Thanksgiving.

No matter where I am or who I am with, Thanksgiving includes:
  • Spending hours with loved ones, visiting, and relaxing
  • Remembering and actually doing something to help our neighbors
  • Reflecting on all I am grateful for, and expressing it out loud
  • Sharing the experience with old friends who have become family over time
  • Making room at the table for new friends
  • Creating a meal that weaves our traditions together
  • Taking a walk in the autumn air
The best of Christmases have felt just like Thanksgiving, but with a few presents added. So this year my plan is to skirt the edges of the shopping mania, write my thank-you's to friends and family far and wide, and create great meals with the loved ones on hand. There will be a few small gifts and stocking stuffers, but mostly time shared. And for New Year's? More of the same. Might as well ring in 2009 with hope and gratitude.

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