Somewhere in our headlong flight through these holidays, many of us pause to notice or comment or even grumble about how the Christmas season has shoved the Thanksgiving season out of the way. Some of us wonder not if, but when Halloween will be overtaken.
It's not a difficult observation to defend. "Black Friday," which is now actually "Black Any-Day-of-the-Week," evolved from being a few weeks before Christmas to the day after Thanksgiving to midnight of Thanksgiving Day to the morning of Thanksgiving Day to weeks before Thanksgiving Day. And the newspaper this column is tucked into is the largest one of the year, not because of today -- Thanksgiving -- but because of a month from now -- Christmas.
Many people believe this issue is worth lamenting, not because of this increased enthusiasm for Christmas, but because of the shadow it throws over the Thanksgiving celebration, which some folks want to hang on to, no matter what.
All this day-after-Thanksgiving purchasing madness, which has actually left people dead in its wake, feels like a door slammed on the Thanksgiving holiday, as though in one quick motion we eat the turkey, wash the dishes, and then whirl around to snap into Christmas mode with no lingering trace of the goodwill and gratitude that ought to be a hallmark of Thanksgiving time.
But there is a way to fix it. The simple way to solve how the Christmas season shoves its presence into the Thanksgiving season is to shove the Thanksgiving presence back into the Christmas season. We know what Thanksgiving feels like when it's crowded by Christmas. But what would Christmas feel like if it was crowded by Thanksgiving...
On a shallow level, we're thankful we beat out that other guy for a prime parking space.
We're thankful we grabbed the last Baby-Costs-a-Lot off the shelf before that other woman got it.
We're thankful the fellow ringing the bell by the red kettle didn't make eye contact with us as we rushed past.
But on a more meaningful level, we're thankful we remembered to bring a couple of dollar bills for the red kettle.
We're thankful for the chance to hold the store door open for that hobbling person.
We're thankful we have enough resources to help someone else also have a good Christmas.
We're thankful to get the Christmas cards written and sent before the 25th.
We're thankful to find a tree that everyone likes.
We're thankful the kids aren't scared to death of Santa when they sit on his lap, and we're thankful we can hear what they whisper to him.
We're thankful we stored wrapping paper last Christmas so we already have it on hand when we need it this year.
We're thankful for online shopping, and free, two-day delivery.
We're thankful when the kids ask what they can get for Dad and we actually have an answer.
We're thankful when it snows ... and sometimes when it doesn't.
We're thankful for the smells and tastes so unique to this season.
We're thankful to live in a country where we can still celebrate the Christmas holiday.
We're thankful for an awareness of just how much we have to be thankful for.
Most of all, we're thankful to realize that Thanksgiving isn't a single-day holiday, mowed down by that other holiday, but rather it can actually be a way of life that we celebrate right through every holiday of the year.
Have a Merry Thanksgiving and a Thankful Christmas.
You can contact D. Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.