I swear the holidays come earlier and earlier every year! I walked into the store the day after Halloween and they were filling the aisles with Christmas stuff! Did we just skip November altogether? Do we move straight from the candy to the presents without a pause for thankfulness? Ugh! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. I start listening to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, and we put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, but still, I feel like everything is just so rushed, and I think it contributes to my holiday stress.
Every year I look forward to this time of year. I love the cooler temperatures (well, cooler for Florida), the pumpkins, the flavors, and all the fun that comes with this season. Right now, I am planning our Thanksgiving dinner. For the first time in three years, my husband is NOT working, so we actually get to eat at home instead of the fire station. I am looking forward to a day of cooking and lounging around with my family. It will be nice to have my kitchen full of holiday smells.
Here’s the thing that bothers me. I want to take this month to focus on the gratitude that comes with Thanksgiving. Before my kids get carried away with the thoughts of the gifts and the candy canes and the lights, I want them to take a moment to focus on being thankful for what they already have. I want them to understand that even though our life may be different from that of their friends, they are blessed beyond belief.
Again, I love Christmas. And I really get into giving gifts. There is something about watching someone open a present that I have picked out for them and loving it that just warms my heart. I spend hours planning gifts for my family, and I love wrapping the presents and look forward to that moment when we all get up and open gifts together. I don’t think presents are bad, I just think that focusing on the gift giving and decorations for a full two months is a little much. As I hear about people completing their Christmas lists the second week of November, I start to panic and wonder if I am falling behind. As the weeks go on and more and more of my friends Facebook posts focus on checking items off their lists, I start to really stress out.
So, this year, I am going to work to enjoy the month of November with my focus on Thanksgiving without thinking about next month. I will focus on Christmas AFTER Thanksgiving. This month, I am just going to spend time being grateful for all that I have.