Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Comes First

I was driving home last night and my jaw dropped and scrapped along the pavement (very painful) when I saw...

A house with Christmas lights. Blue and white icicle lights. Bushes covered in multi colored lights.

Christmas lights. Turned on.  In early November.

I'd read Suldog's post about taking back Thanksgiving from Christmas- fighting to keep it first. I enjoyed but wasn't really planning to participate.

Until I saw a house with Christmas lights all lit up on November 11. 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. 6 weeks before Christmas.

Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite holidays. I love the food, the gathering of family. I love that it is a day to relax and enjoy people you love. I am fortunate that it is such a positive holiday for me. Christmas is not allowed to take any of that from me. I love Christmas. I love the entire holiday season. For me, the "holidays" start with Halloween and go into Thanksgiving, then into Christmas, New Year's, and end with Jeff's birthday (Jan 2). Right now, I'm all about just enjoying fall and getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'm not making Christmas shopping lists, I'm not planning out decorations or desserts or baking or anything else. I'm focused on Thanksgiving. I'm focused on family, gratitude, turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and hopefully a chocolate cream pie (or two).

I have to admit that I don't have a lot of memories of Thanksgiving from my childhood. My Thanksgiving memories tend to start in my early teen years. I think one of the things I really value about Thanksgiving now is that the traditions are set. We drive to my mom's on Thanksgiving morning and spend the day. In my growing up years, I remember traveling to Pennsylvania to be with my dad's family. I remember Thanksgiving in Chicago with my mom's sister and some extended family from that area. I don't remember Thanksgiving being in our home- we always traveled somewhere. But now, Thanksgiving means going home. Thanksgiving means watching my brothers play with my kids. Talking with them about life, school, girlfriends, the future. Spending time with my Aunt Martha and Uncle Jesse. This year, my grandparents will be part of our Thanksgiving gathering. The faces may change but the love is the same.

Thanksgiving is often celebrated and taught to be the coming together of the Pilgrims and the Indians for a feast, a sharing of the harvest. The Pilgrims had arrived and settled in time for winter. It was a hard winter and half of those who had made the journey didn't survive the harsh conditions. So these remaining 30 or so people are facing spring in a new land, having suffered injury, ilness and loss. They are approached by Indians from nearby tribes- Squanto being the most well known in our history books. The Indians teach the Pilgrims how to live on this new land- farming, fishing, land cultivation, and so on. That fall, when the first harvest proved successful, the Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to a celebratory feast. The first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a holiday designated to be about gratitude and sharing of our blessings. That's what I really love about Thanksgiving. When you look back at that first Thanksgiving, I think there are so many lessons to be learned there. So I'm going to keep Thanksgiving first. I'm going to stay focused on gratitude, family, blessings, sharing. Christmas will come in due time and will have many weeks of celebration before the big day. I'm making every effort to stay focused on Thanksgiving for the weeks ahead of its big day.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I feel good about. Thanksgiving gives me the warm fuzzies. Thanksgiving is the reason for this Feel Good Friday.



Karen M. Peterson said...

Great post, Liz.

I don't understand the need to hurry through Thanksgiving to get to Christmas. Can't we all just slow down and enjoy them one at a time?

Momza said...

So I went and checked out Sully's blog...Suldog...very thoughtful, that one.
I do have the pang of "really? so soon?" when I walk into stores and see their Christmas stuff dotting the shelves left empty by Halloween stuff. It's like Thanksgiving is the "commercial" between Halloween and Christmas and that makes me a little sad.
But, I will say that in defense of retailers--much like "field of dreams"--if you put it out, they will come." We are putting our Christmas stuff out this weekend, so people can buy it of course and prepare for the holidays. And being a military town--many families MUST get their Christmas boxes filled and sent BEFORE Thanksgiving so their soldiers get it by Christmas. If retail Stores waited until Thanksgiving to put their Christmas stuff out, it would truly affect our soldiers' morale, ya know? We gotta get it picked out, paid for, and sent on time.
So while I agree in theory that Thanksgiving comes first, in practicality, I'm grateful for retailers who are considerate of EVERYONE in the community. Some people are on fixed incomes, and have to be careful in how they purchase Christmas gifts/food.
having it available in November is probably a blessing for those folks and their families.
I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and however we choose to share those special days with others is sure to be a blessing for every one. love to you, Liz! Have a great weekend!

Alison said...

YES! I agree with you wholeheartedly. But my biggest peeve is that it's not Christmas we celebrate anymore--it's Black Monday; it's the sales; it's the decorating and baking and wrapping and partying and gifting.

It's nothing to do with the birth of the one who said "Give him the shirt off your back."

So, yes, Thanksgiving first, but CHRISTmas after that. Or Hannukah or Solstice or Festivus or whatever...but not ChristMASS CONSUMPTION, please!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Christmas gets shoved on us too soon, and just bustles Thanksgiving right out of the way.

Suldog said...

Oh, my. I've already published my final collection of links to other bloggers who have written about this, but I'll make an addendum and add yours. Thanks!!!

dollycas aka Lori said...

I am already sick of all early commercials because of the economy but lights out already, no way.

Thanksgiving used to be a huge holiday, then my dad died and my mom remarried a guy who really wanted her to himself and took us in small doses. Christmas moved to my sister's but now with mom passing almost 2 years ago that has stopped too.

Thanksgiving on my husband's side has basically turned into an immediate family sort of thing, we all have our own family day and his mom takes turns visiting the 4 families but we still gather at her home for Christmas, at least 30 depending on if boyfriends or girlfriends come too. It is great getting all together.

I am not shopping until after Thanksgiving though. I too believe in taking one holiday at a time!


Collette said...

MAYBE they got a jump on the lights because the weather is nice?? We plan to do ours before it gets super cold but we won't turn them on. I don't I awful? I could really just skip straight to Christmas.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Collette, we thought about putting up lights this weekend- before the weather turns. But no way would they get turned ON until after Thanksgiving!!

kbiermom said...


Idea for my next invention: lights that can be switched from fall colors -- yellow, red, orange -- to Christmas colors. Put them up in October, and you're good until January!

Stephanie Faris said...

I found you through Karen's blog. I've been saying the same thing! I haven't seen any decorated houses yet (although we live next to Opryland Hotel, which turned its Christmas lights on when it reopened last week) but the stores are driving me crazy. The day after Halloween, the Christmas stuff went up and they started playing Christmas music. We're all going to be so sick of seeing it by Christmas day!

Anonymous said...

I'm here from Karen's blog. I couldn't agree more! Finally there are others who agree :-)