Let me say, right off the bat, that I love Christmas. All of it. The food, the decorating, the family pandemonium, the gift-giving and I certainly don’t turn my nose up at the gift receiving. I like to plan ahead and take notes, year ‘round, in preparation for the holidays—gift ideas, meal plans, decorations...you name it.
But the fact that November 1st has become the new start of the Christmas season bugs me.
But I don’t know exactly why.
Maybe I’m turning into one of those nostalgic grown-ups that laments about the good ‘ol days. But, in my defense, the good ‘ol days were sort of magical.
When I was in high school and college I worked at Gap. The shift that closed the store the night before Thanksgiving always worked late—because we had to decorate the store for Black Friday. When people marched into the mall the day after Thanksgiving at the unholy crack of dawn, they were greeted by new display windows and holiday decorations throughout the store.
I remember seeing the first real “holiday” TV commercials on Thanksgiving night. Sprinkled throughout football games you’d get you first glimpse of the Coca Cola Polar Bears, the ding-donging Hershey Kisses and that old school Folgers Coffee ad where Peter comes home from college to surprise his family.
It was like the turning the corner and being bowled over by Christmas.
It’s not that I’m so vehemently against kicking off the Christmas season early or that I think magic has to be contained within a 4 week window, it’s that we’re skipping over a pretty damn fantastic holiday to get to it.
Oh, right. You can’t merchandise the crap out of Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s why most stores blow right by it and what also makes it so special...
The richness of Thanksgiving is found in the traditions that we create for our families. It’s the reflection that comes from going around the table to say what you're thankful for during the big meal. It’s explaining gratitude to a small child and having them respond with “I’m thankful for baby brother!” It’s the tattered keepsake—the note that your mom wrote to your husband, telling him why she is thankful he is in our lives.
Thanksgiving is so uniquely special because it is almost wholeheartedly in the hands of family. We prepare the meal, we gather together and we join hands to give thanks for the people around us.
What a glorious holiday.