Whatever happened to peaceful, joyful, and merry-making holidays? As my sister and I drove on the highway passing in front of our local mall on Thanksgiving evening, we were stunned to see the throng of cars in the parking lots. People had cut short their Thanksgiving meal with family/friends to start Christmas shopping by 5pm. It seems everyone is on a quest to find the perfect gift. Children are mesmerized by all of the advertisements and parents have their children wish lists in hand while they go into debt trying to buy everything on it.
Whatever happened to being content with a slice of Big Mama’s coconut cake or MaDear’s sweet potato pie? Remember the joy of feeling like a big girl when you helped your mother “set” the table? Remember the fun in playing with those cousins from out-of-town that you only saw once or twice a year? Remember the joy of licking the cake dough from the spatula and scooping it from the mixing bowl after your mother put the cake in the oven? Yes, receiving toys was great but it was only a part of the enjoyment.
Now, success is judged by how soon you started Christmas shopping during the year, how many gifts you bought, and how much money you spent for them. The retailers start planting holiday shopping in our minds before the kids have gone trick-or-treating and no one has consideration for the poor retail workers who gulped down their Thanksgiving dinner so the rest of you can shop early.
In yesteryear, Thanksgiving had the appropriate reverence and no one thought of Christmas until the turkey leftovers were gone. Parents watched their kid’s interests throughout the year to determine an appropriate gift or gifts for Christmas. The child may not have received everything they wanted but they were content with whatever gift they received because it was truly a gift and not a fulfillment of a sense of entitlement.
The slow commercialization of the period between Halloween and New Years’ Day is a phenomenon that steadily grows each year. Personally, I find myself rebelling against it. As I watch people fervently shopping and traffic around the malls, all I want to do is arrive to a relaxing evening in my home or spend time with my family /friends. I will purchase gifts for the children in my immediate family but I will not succumb to the “call” of the retailers and shop in wild abandonment. I will pass some blessings on by donating some money to help others. I will make some joyful noise/memories with my loved ones this season and that will be a wonderfully sufficient gift for me.
Let us put THANKS back in the last Thursday in November, GIVING back in the season, and CHRIST back in Christmas.
Do you feel there is too much commercialization of the holiday season?
Do you miss the old-fashioned family-value methods of celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas?