I’m feeling more protective of Thanksgiving with each year. If I could draw, I’d visualize it this way — a turkey representing Thanksgiving quivers in the middle of train tracks as a bellowing locomotive called “Christmas” bears down. The train is many days ahead of schedule, and traveling way too fast to stop. Thanksgiving is overrun.
This past month, our only holiday decoration has been the twiggy “gratitude tree” we made out of branches sticking out of a vase on our kitchen table. We hang paper leaves decorated with words of what we’re grateful for — family, friends, our house, marshmallows, the sun. And, for this year at least, Nina parroted my “one holiday at a time” mantra when we would hear Christmas music in stores or see houses decorated with lights and red bows. ‘
“It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, people!” she yelled out the window one night when we drove past a house with lighted reindeer in the front yard.
it’s not the meaning of Christmas that I want to keep at bay, but that I don’t want the consumerism of the holiday to trample the season of gratitude. I agree with those who say that gratitude should be a state of being, year round, not one day of saying grace before a big meal. But if we do have one day to at least acknowledge it, can’t we honor it by being fully present without being inundated with Black Friday deals! deals! deals! Or worse, stores opening on Thanksgiving evening. In our society of instant-click-buy and fed-ex fast delivery, why are we in such a blazing hurry to buy? Just about the only thing I can think of that I would stand in line for hours (or days, as some people do) and throw out my elbows for is a miracle cure for my friend with cancer.
Today I trumped Black Friday by prolonging Thanksgiving. In what feels like meek protest — like putting a rickety wooden gate in line of a roaring avalanche — I deleted the flood of Black Friday sale emails that inundated my in-box, and I joined in on the “Say No To Shopping On Thanksgiving” community on Facebook. As I prepare to enjoy another dinner with my family, I’ll add more leaves on the gratitude tree.