Celebrating our holidays one at a time

Published 11:57 pm Saturday, November 16, 2013

There’s been a lot said lately about Thanksgiving losing its identity and becoming a mere launching pad for the Christmas season. Some like it and some are almost fighting mad about it. It’s understandable as Thanksgiving seems more and more to be lost in the shuffle.  

In the past, Christmas decorations weren’t even on display in the stores until Thanksgiving was over. It seems now the Halloween goodies have just disappeared and the Christmas decorations appeared, with little of Thanksgiving in between.

Christmas decorations have been appearing for a few weeks now and in stores this past week, I heard the not so subtle strains of Christmas music. If it keeps up, in a few years we could see the red and green Christmas decorations competing with the red, white and blue colors of July 4th!

The day after Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year — Black Friday. Why it has acquired this name could refer to the bruises avid shoppers get while pushing and shoving and trying to beat everybody else into the stores when the doors open and trying to grab the bargains.

Last year, a few stores started a little earlier — on Thanksgiving Day — and this year so many more are backing the time so more people can shop the bargains.

You can’t blame working people for using part of the day to get some shopping done — it is a day off and it’s quite a temptation.  

I’m always stunned and a little envious this time of year when people not only have their Christmas shopping done, but gifts wrapped and under the tree! Christmas decorations are appearing at the fronts of houses and in the yard, usually reflecting what has already taken place inside.

Turkeys everywhere would probably like to banish Thanksgiving altogether, but Thanksgiving is an excellent holiday. With the sometimes apparent greed of the Christmas season looming on the horizon, Thanksgiving becomes even more important. It is a time to sit back, count blessings and be truly, truly thankful.  

If nothing else, be thankful that you are able to go Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day — both physically and financially.

Although it is traditional to wait until after Thanksgiving, I have no problem with early Christmas decorations or shopping. However, it just isn’t in my nature. I do well most years to get a tree up the week before Christmas. I try to be finished shopping sometime between the two holidays.   

It is apparent many people have “wised up” about holiday shopping and decorating. Getting it done early allows them to enjoy activities without stressing over last minute things.

So on Thanksgiving Day, most of us will throw the turkey in the oven, make the dressing and giblet gravy, chill the cranberry sauce, bake the pumpkin pie, get the vegetables ready, stuff ourselves and then, full and tired, complain that we ate too much — then some will go shopping.

The day after Christmas those organized do-ahead people will hit the stores again for the mark-downs to buy decorations and gifts for next year, starting the cycle all over again. That’s one of our many blessings: to be able to do what we want when we want, whether it be shopping early or late, decorating when we want, even leaving our decorations up all year if we please.

During this season of thanksgiving, I will try to remember to stop each day and count my blessings. I am thankful I am an American and can publicly express my thankfulness — and my opinions! I am thankful that no matter what happens in this crazy, messed-up world, God loves us and He is in control. I am thankful that I have a loving family. I am thankful for health and for the many opportunities available. The list goes on and on.

At our house, Christmas will take its rightful place next month.

This month we will celebrate Thanksgiving.

Retired Lifestyle Editor Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column and may be contacted at bobann_b@ yahoo. com.