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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Comes First

I have a secret. Well, not necessarily a secret because if you know me in real life or read this blog post, last December, then this will come as no surprise to you.

Christmas is my least favorite time of year. I am already starting to feel that dread I feel, when it’s this time of the year. 

It’s not that I don’t celebrate the birth of Christ. As a believer, it has personal meaning for me to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I just don’t believe in the commercial version of it.  It doesn’t mean that I am against having fun & celebrating Christmas cheer. It doesn’t mean that I am against gift giving and all things red, green and white.

The post I wrote last year sums up how I feel quite well…

“What it comes down to is this…I don’t like the commercialism that rules from October until January. Even before Halloween, Christmas decorations are out. The commercials on TV are pushing to buy, buy, buy!!!! I heard Christmas music playing in Wal-Mart before Halloween for goodness sakes. Are you flippin kidding me? We ran into the mall a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and already the mall Santa and Mrs. Clause had a long line of children waiting to see them. Thanksgiving barely gets recognized, and we are blasted into red, green and white.

I don’t like this big fat crazy whirlwind of commercialism. The pressure on the stores to sell. The push to buy. The bigger the better. The pressure to spend money we don’t really have or money we should be saving. Pressure we put on ourselves or let others put on us. The push for all of this to come earlier and earlier. It used to be that Santa didn’t come out until after Thanksgiving.”

I know some of you don’t have Thanksgiving in your country and those of you in Canada celebrated in October. But, for those of us in the United States, what happened to celebrating Thanksgiving first? Whatever happened to celebrating this holiday without having all things Christmas pushed upon us before we’ve even sat down to Thanksgiving dinner?

Regardless of where you live, do you not get tired of Christmas commercialism pushed on you earlier and earlier? Or is it not like this in the country you live? If it’s not, maybe I need to move my family there.

Christmas used to be magical. The focus was on families & friends  being together…decorating a tree and putting the star on top…baking and sharing our goods with one another….Christmas programs and parties at church and school…nativity displays…sitting on Santa’s lap and whispering in his ear… a gift or two and singing carols. It used to be about so much more than all of this commercialism. 

I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. The selfishness that is bred to want more and more…and bigger and better…to expect more and more and bigger and better.

Where does it stop?

And where does this come from?

I know I sound like a poop on the fun parade. I know it’s fun to give. Hell, I love to give presents, so it’s not about that. The thing is, most of us that are going to be getting gifts already have way too much stuff already.Most of us, will buy things for those that already have way too much stuff.

Christmas is suppose to be about “peace and goodwill towards men” and about joy and caring and spreading the holiday cheer.

For those of us that are believers, it’s suppose to be celebrating the birth of Christ.”

The day after Thanksgiving, all hell breaks loose. People lose all good sense and manners in search of the perfect deals. How ironic is all this pushing and shoving, as Christmas music plays in the background?

When I am out and about in the stores, I don’t see the spreading of peace and goodwill towards men. I don’t see all that much joy. And I certainly don’t see a whole lot of holiday cheer being spread.  I surely don’t see Christ in the pushing and shoving.

Instead, I see sadness. I see confusion. I see rudeness. I see meanness.  I see anger. I see lots and lots of selfishness. I see people pushing each other and hear of people getting hurt, fighting over a toy or some sale item. I see a lot of overwhelmed people that  don’t want to be there, spending money they don’t really have but don’t have a clue how to step off this crazy train.

I personally think, this must make Jesus sad.

While shopping for household things the other day, I over heard a woman scream humiliations at her husband. I listened to people talk loud and rudely on their cell phones. I witnessed parents trying to get out of control kids to behave. I watched an elderly couple get pushed out of line.  The worst was over hearing  a younger mom tell her friend that they wouldn’t be having Christmas because they have no money. Hearing the defeat and sadness in her voice broke my heart. I watch all these things while listening to Christmas music playing in the background.

And yes, I think this must make Jesus sad…sad that it has come down to getting so stressed that we act like complete idiots or think that there will be no Christmas if there are no gifts.

This here is at the heart of why it is hard for me to be happy for Christmas…a holiday that has become more about money and gifts then anything else. 

It is hard for me to get into the spirit of Christmas joy when I see so much sadness and brokenness around me.

I know those that barely make it without the added expense of buying presents. I know those going without and I know their desperate prayers for these holidays to pass quickly so that it will be all over. I know people struggling with illness and depression. I know people that have no money to go to the doctor let alone buy a present for their child.

It’s hard to be happy about a birthday party when everyone’s not invited.

Just imagine for one moment to be one of these people in which hard times have fallen. It’s hard enough on a regular day but can you just imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes as the holidays approach?

I challenge each one of us to do something during the upcoming holidays, that would make a difference in someone life…something that would make someone feel like they’ve been invited to the party.

It doesn’t have to be big or out of the ordinary. I guarantee you that every small act you do will make a difference.

Wouldn’t it be great to take the commercial out of Christmas? To make it what it used to be about?

Would you like to see the push of Christmas before Thanksgiving stopped? Would you like the retailers to stop pushing Christmas on you before you’ve sat down to Thanksgiving dinner?

Suldog came up with this genius idea of a Thanksgiving Comes First campaign. I first read this post  from Joanna, so I had to check him out.  I was wowed! :)

In Jim’s words… 

“I do this, around this same time every year, because I truly believe the cheapening of our holidays can be stopped. Do I believe it will happen right now, because of this post? No. It will take your help, and help from your friends, and then help from their friends.”

And…

“Should you be as incensed as I am concerning Christmas schlock, [hitting stores way too early] please post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry on your blog. Write from the heart. Everybody who visits your blog will find out how you feel. My guess is they'll agree with you. Perhaps they'll also write about it, and so will their friends, and so forth. I hope that, if enough of us do this, we might make some small impact.”

I really do encourage you to check out his blog and read Jim’s whole post. If you feel the same way and would like to send the message to retailers that we the people are fed up, please write a post so the word can be spread.

Year after year, I avoid going to malls or stores at this time of year, in an effort to avoid having the Christmas joy sucked out of me. Yet, I cannot walk into the store for regular items, without being bombarded with the irony of it all.

I am advocating for not supporting the retailers that are pushing Christmas before it’s due time. 

We must stop allowing them to do this. We are the consumers and we need to send them a message.

“Thanksgiving Comes First!”

 

 

Until next time, hugs and love, Lori

45 comments:

Brittany said...

Beautiful!

Hilary said...

A very loving and caring approach to Jim's campaign... exactly as I knew yours would be. Nicely said, Lori.

Suldog said...

Lori, that was a fantastic bit of writing. You eloquently expressed a number of things that I only briefly touched upon in my post. Thank you!

Jeannie said...

I agree that retailers beat the Christmas donkey too soon - and my donkey gets broken down. That magical Christmas anticipation becomes anxiety because the release is far too late.

Colleen said...

Excellent post Lori! I agree, so much of what you said really touches me because I feel the same. I love the fact the Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ but also feel saddened over the anticlimatic approach to Christmas materialism. The best Christmas my husband and I had was the one we went away on holiday and recieved no gifts on Christmas day and just focused on the day itself, went to dinner, went to mass...there was no anticlimax then because it was just simple and beautiful and meaningful.
Anyway, great, great post! You always manage to say the things that are on people's hearts.
God bless you as Thanksgiving approaches.

Jenglamgirl said...

Coming over from Brits blog. LOVE THIS POST. You are so dead on. I am going to get on board and write my own Thanksgiving comes first post. I think with all that you have shared to think of just your family and make those speical magical feelings of Christmas come after Thanksgiving. Bake, go caroling, have the smallest child put the star on the top of the tree. There is no reason for us as individuals to stop making Christmas special. We can avoid rudeness too by ordering online. My mom loves it that way! We can make homemade gifts and bake too. Thanks for the reminder. Hugs, Jen

Brian Miller said...

i hear you...they have already put up santas house out at the mall...saw it yesterday...ack. it gets earlier every year and i agree completely...nice lori

ag. said...

I love your honesty. While I do love Christmas, I don't understand why the commercialism has to last for months...I think the real meaning of each holiday is lost for so many people. Great post!

SciFi Dad said...

Although I am Canadian, we still deal with the Christmas creep... card stores start displaying ornaments before the back to school sales start now, and it pretty much comes to a head November 1 (in other words as soon as they take down black and orange it's up with the red and green).

I don't like the commercialism side of it, but I have to admit I like Christmas decorations in general, so I don't mind it as much as you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I agree with you....Christmas is about CHRIST and not buying, shopping and going wacko.
I love Thanksgiving the most because there is less commercialism and it is all centered around family.

The Incredible Woody said...

I'm in exactly the same boat. Christmas is my least favorite time of the year! Went to Macy's around the 1st of October - they already had their Christmas decorations up!

Life with Kaishon said...

The commercialism makes me sad...but other than that, its still magical to us. I love your post and I pray this year you will be able to spread your cheer. Sending love.

Midwestern Mama Holly said...

^ 5 !!! All the way

wolfie185 said...

Lori thanks for being the first to see I am back, lovely present!

I have always felt as you do about Christmas. The Buddha and Christ were on the same page when it comes to love and compassion. It is a shame greed and comercialism are amped up like a meth junkie for 3 months and the true message is ignore. I believe in my heart there are a lot of us out there who do believe in the true message, we show it in more subtle ways, we are humble beings who don't seek the spotlight because the spotlight goes against our spiritual purpose as well.

With my new job I am aware than every of the less fortunates. Most of those we serves are on very limited incomes, many have mental health issues. The org I work for has a connection to an org which gives us surplus store items we can then give to the families we serve. The items very from household needs, clothing, bedding, toileteries, decorations, various knick knacks and some other stuff. The org and it's staff all believe in showing loving kindness and compassion,it is our number one priority. We don't do what we do to get rich, our incomes are low, we do it because in our hearts this is the right work for us.

So cheer up my friend, you are not alone. Oh yeah I do have a bad habit of putting on Trans Siberian Orchestra and Jethro Tull's Christmas cd's on when the first frost hits, the music is uplifting and fun.

Peace Love and Light

I Wonder Wye said...

I know - I get so disheartened to see the Christmas displays up at Halloween -- they can't seem to push it on us fast, enough it seems. As for me, I have never shopped on 'black Fri.,' and never will. Our family gives mostly home made, handmade gifts and concentrates on the 'reason for the season.' Not fashionable, but we don't go in for the greedy commercialism of today's world.

Shrinky said...

Yup, you and Jim have just about summed it up perfectly! I do love Christmas, because it's the one occassion in the year when both my sister's and their families are under the same roof as us. We stopped buying expensive gifts for each other years ago - it's only the children we buy for. My birthday is on Chrismas day, so I do tend to receive the odd gift, too - but the best gift of all is sharing a lovely meal with all our extended family!

jpooh said...

Excellent post, Lori. In our house, Thanksgiving ALWAYS comes first - decorations don't go up until the Sunday after. And this year, all I asked for was to fly our kids up to Ohio to visit; all I want is my family around me.

Jan

gaelikaa said...

good one. Very well said.

blueviolet said...

I used to get caught up in all of it myself, but finally realized it was the memories, the traditions, the family part of it that mattered to me. We cut gifts down to less than five per child and my extended family stopped exchanging gifts. We still get together, but without the stress and unnecessary gifts.

Loved your post!

Bina said...

This is a great post! And usually, I love Christmas. I love the magic, the lights, the children's faces. This year though, I'm one of those that hard times have fallen and I already feel anxiety of wondering how in the world I'm going to buy gifts for my children.

I'm also one who will NOT go shopping on Black Friday. It's not worth it, and you are right, there are way too many mean people in those stores who are out for themselves and do not care about anyone else, just the items they can purchase.

Rhea said...

I love Christmas time but you're right about the commercialism shoved in our face overload.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm with you. I dread the Christmas season. I'm headed to Suldog.

ladyfi said...

Many thanks for your kind comments. We don't have Thanksgiving in Europe, so I understand that Christmas makes a shy entrance in November in my old home country, England.

However, here in Sweden, things are low-key, and Christmas doesn't really get started until the first Advent, usually at the beginning of December.

I do hate the commercialism of Christmas though!

mommytoalot said...

Very well written. I totally agree with you Lori. Christmas is way too commercialized and I was reading a similar post and thinking.."yes..Christmas is about family..celebrating the birth of Christ. "
I too get distressed around this time of year..for some of the same reasons and for others as well.
xo
thinking of you.

Debbie said...

Hi Lori....oh I agree with you but I have to admit that Christmas is my favorite holiday and always has been. I don't lose sight that it is Jesus's birthday and that's who should get the glory but I love the holiday. It's the only time of year that everyone seems to show their love for one another. My parents really made it fun for all of us kids and I think that is why I love it still. Now...I totally agree with you on the commercialism end of it and it starting too soon. You are absolutely right!! We seem to just combine Thanksgiving and Christmas and blow right through that wonderful holiday. For a lot of people I know...Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday because it's not all about money....and one upping everyone to get the perfect gift. My husband feels exactly the same as you do. I try to see the forest for the trees but I get caught up in it. Thanks for posting this food for thought....an excellent reminder. There have been many years we had no money and it was brutal. I started making homemade things a few years ago....people loved them! I may do that again this year.

TechnoBabe said...

For me, Thanksgiving is its own special day. Very different from Christmas. And like you, I am so sorry that Christmas is so commercial now. The sweet spirit of Christmas is overpowered by pressure and stress and buying presents. You and your family are keeping your priorities straight.

Nessa said...

I refuse to acknowledge Christmas until Santa rides in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Riahli said...

Great post, I can't stand the Christmas push...

I tried to email you about the almond flour and also to give you some info on gluten free baking, but I don't think it worked. Email me at the_rivers(at)frontier(dot)com and I will send that info your way! :)

Pseudo said...

Can I get a "Oh Yeah!" I so agree. And I think it spreads into everything. Capitalism run amuck is at the core of so many of our country's problems.

Excellent post.

Buckeroomama said...

I agree that Christmas has gotten a bit too commercial, but I don't really mind hearing Christmas carols early. I love Christmas carols --all of them. I don't like it either when Christmas has become all about shopping, what to get, what to ask for, etc., but I don't think we should blame the retailers for doing what they do to get more business their way. Christmas should be in our hearts and it should not matter what marketers choose to put out. A little bit of a contrarian view, sorry.

Jeni said...

First, thanks so much for your visit to my place and your comments. Yep, we share very much the same sentiments about Thanksgiving coming first and the Christmas Season begins later! I suppose when I was a child there was commercialization then too of this beautiful holiday, but what I remember most, what I try to do with and for my family, is to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Sure there will be gift-giving on Christmas Eve, but our objective is to celebrate along the way with various traditional services in our church as well as the Christmas Eve service. By the way, I see you and I follow 12 of the same bloggers -no mean feat, ya know! Good to meet you and hope to hear from you again in the future too. Now, go and prepare for a very Happy Thanksgiving and we can all unite to give the commercialization aspect a very cold shoulder!

Cricket said...

Hi Lori -

Thanks for your visit and for your own contribution to TCF.

Personally, I wish Christmas were more like Thanksgiving, or maybe Easter: gifts &c. for children, the festive dinner for everyone over the age of 10 or 12 or something. Why not?

Every year I float this idea with the family. No luck yet. I think it's a good idea: get some toys for the kids, then figure what you would have spent, take half of that and give it to charity, and put the other half back in the bank.

Or something.

You could still roast some chestnuts by the fire, if that's your thing. Well, enough of this. Maybe I'll post on it closer to Christmas.

Thanksgiving comes first ;-)

shortmama said...

I hate that about retail...they push Christmas so hard that you are tired of Christmas before it even starts!

Just Be Real said...

Lori thank you for sharing from your heart dear one. Blessings.

NENSA MOON said...

Hi Lori,
Thanks for the beautiful post. I can say you wrote with all your heart...
Here in Indonesia... all the christmas decorations or santa will spread out the malls usually in a month before the christmas day... as well as other major holidays such as Eid ul Fitr or others.... malls will crowded with shades of the festive holiday itself a month earlier...

Hope you and family have a blessed Christmas this year!
hugs,
nensa

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh! I remember THanksgiving Comes First! I did that with suldog last year, too --

And I know what you mean about the commercialism and i want i want -- I am this year trying to find a way to not think about that and to find my joy again...I started this thinking last year and it helped, so this year going to work on it again!

Sandra said...

I'm in such agreement! The happiest day of the year for me is when the tree comes down the day after Christmas and I can go on living my life more peaceful than it does in the weeks leading up to Christmas!

Together We Save said...

Amen!

ain't for city gals said...

Our family stopped the madness about four years ago...we now gather on Christmas Eve...make something like 250 sack lunches for the homeless...and go to downtown Phoenix to distribute...it can be done..

Kathy M. said...

Hi Lori,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. It all feels a crazy and out of control. Of course, as an Al-Anon I know I can only do my part. I'm powerless over Christmas madness, but I can control my own actions and my reaction to what I see around me. So this year I will let it begin with me, as we say in the program. I will strive to be an example of what recovery looks like.

Thanks for this post. Thanks, too, for stopping by my blog despite my infrequent postings these last couple of months. Slowly, things begin to feel a little less crazy and I hope to be around and able to visit more often.

Take care.

Ash said...

xmas decors out in oct?! no way! we dont celebrate "thanksgiving day" here but if we were to then i wouldn't get caught in the xmas hype and just enjoy the festivals as they come. :)

~ash's mum

Joanna Jenkins said...

Suldog is awesome to launch the Thanksgiving Comes First feature and I'm so glad you posted about it-- Beautifully and heart-felt too, I might add. Thanks for joining in and thanks for the shout-out.
xoxo jj

Jillsy Girl said...

excellent post! it is extremely sad when a religious holiday becomes more of a marketing strategy than a message.

deb said...

I haven't read the comments , but I was thinking, whether or not you are Catholic, the practice of Advent is a truly beautiful and intentional way to make Christmas more about the truth. It completely changed how I looked at the whole thing and gave me something to focus on instead of the mall.

Suldog said...

Lori:

I was just re-reading some of my favorite pieces written about Thanksgiving Comes First, and of course yours was on the list. I still find this to be an extremely eloquent piece, and thanks again for having posted it!