Be Thankful – for Christmas

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Almost as common as the sight of store Christmas displays these days are the complaints about how retailers are rushing the season, how Thanksgiving is given short shrift, and how we should all slow down and enjoy the seasons as they unfold.

I agree with some of these sentiments, and I am especially appalled at how many stores and other businesses are open on Thanksgiving. I do believe that this least commercialized holiday of the year needs to be appreciated fully by all Americans.

I also find it a bit jarring when I go to the store and find Christmas decorations and candy going up right next to the Halloween clearance items. But I have to admit that it’s not all bad to get a jump on Christmas preparation. I myself have started my shopping in earnest as December 25 approaches, however distantly.

You see, I like to enjoy the Christmas holiday season. From the very first day of Advent, when we open the first window on our Advent calendar, I want to be in the sometimes festive, sometimes reflective mood of this waiting time leading up to Christmas. And getting prepared way in advance helps this along.

There is nothing so spirit-crushing as battling the last minute crowds at shopping malls or searching in vain for an extra string of Christmas tree lights in late December. Each day after Black Friday is one day closer to frenzy and mayhem as people ramp up their preparations for the biggest holiday of the year.

So as I make my shopping lists and start checking holiday items off my list in November, I feel a sense of joyful anticipation for all the fun I am going to have once Christmas is actually near. While others are out getting those last minute gifts or pints of egg nog, I will be in my kitchen listening to Christmas Sing Along With Mitch Miller and baking Christmas cookies with my kids.

I’m sure I won’t get everything done in time to avoid the lines and chaos completely. There is always the one gift that is hard to find or the person I inadvertently left off my list. But I will be able to approach these last minute errands with real Christmas cheer and a hot peppermint mocha, knowing that I had the foresight to plan ahead and get the lion’s share of my tasks completed long before I get sick of hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

So I say get out there, and get started. Pace yourself, and enjoy the holiday season.

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