I’m a Prince fan, and one of my favs is Thieves in the Temple -- “Love come quick; love come in a hurry. …thieves in the temple tonight.”
That’s how I feel about the relentless barrage of holiday hype. Christmas ads waaay before Thanksgiving. Stores open Thanksgiving Day and all night long. Too many weeks of ‘how to cook a turkey’ on every cooking show. Spoofs mocking families around the dinner table.
As I sat looking at yet another ad for the best Black Friday bargains, I began to feel…robbed. Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the year-end holiday season, at least for Americans. It is a time for gathering, reflecting, celebrating and being, well, thankful for oh so many things. While it takes some jockeying to be inclusive of even the most difficult relatives, and although this year may find you a little less equipped to host a big celebration, whether for financial, health or logistical reasons, it’s still a time to exhale the stresses of the past ten months and inhale the sweetness of the most wonderful time of the year.
I don’t know that I care about the traditional reasons for Thanksgiving…you know Plymouth Rock and all that rot. And my family situation has changed so much over the years that I have had to establish a new tradition almost every year, so it’s not that I’m bound to generations of tradition. But what I’ll always be committed to is the spirit of the season, which is Love. All the grocery and gift shopping, all the menu planning, all the juggling and jockeying, even all the overspending… is a Love thing. It’s one of the few times a year that we take the limits off and lavish Love on our family and friends without apology.
Talking with others about how many people they have invited, which grandma they’re honoring by using her recipe, how many desserts, how the biggest family is always early and always stays late…sometimes overnight, how they have to steal a nap, the Soul Train line after dinner and before the football games and on and on…these are what Love is made of. These are the things for which I am, we all are, I believe, Thankful for.
I just wish the advertisers and the retailers who assault us with their ‘clever’ ads while robbing their employees of precious family time with holiday store hours would forsake their ‘thieving’ ways, stop sucking the life out of the most precious time of the year and for the few weeks that are the holiday season, be led by the Love that is the very heart of it.