The Christmas season is upon us. Everywhere you turn, there are reminders that it is but a mere three weeks away.
The decorations are in place on the downtown streetlight poles, folks all over Trumbull County have begun to decorate their homes with blinking lights and wreaths and local retail stores are chock-full of items guaranteed to brighten up the holidays. (One house in Leavittsburg actually had its Christmas lights turned on the first week of November).
It's December now and time to get crackin' on all there is to do to prepare for Christmas. But, wait a minute; haven't those twinkle lights and stockings been on store shelves for more than a month? I seem to recall seeing candy canes and Santa Clauses on the aisle next to the one with the Halloween decorations during the last week of October.
What happened to Thanksgiving? Are we eventually going to skip right over Thanksgiving and go straight from Halloween to Christmas? With the Christmas shopping season beginning earlier every year, are we forgetting to give the celebration of Thanksgiving the proper attention it deserves?
While relaxing on the couch and watching football following a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner last week, my family and I decided to peruse the Black Friday sale ads in the Tribune. The big shopping day has become a tradition unto itself and using the Thanksgiving Day newspaper ads to plot a strategy can be part of the excitement.
But some stores had already opened their doors, starting at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning to get a jump on their competitors.
How can you possibly spend time counting and appreciating one's blessings while watching the clock until it's time to grab your wallet and rush to the shopping center? Who has time for giving thanks when you could be waiting in the checkout line with a basket full of bargains instead? There's no time to cook a big meal for the family, let's just stop at McDonald's and grab a bite to eat when we're done shopping.
Am I the only one offended by this glazing-over of one of America's most beloved holidays? Following a treacherous passage in 1620 from England to Massachusetts in pursuit of prosperity and religious freedom, some of the Mayflower's 102 passengers who made the journey managed to survive disease, malnutrition and a brutal winter. With much help from the Wampanoag Indians, the Pilgrims learned to fish in rivers, successfully grow corn and become self-sufficient on American soil. A bountiful harvest ensued and the colonists were very grateful.
The first Thanksgiving in the year 1621 was a celebration of perseverance with appreciation for many blessings. Thanksgiving tradition suggests taking the time to look around and express gratitude for all that we have: family, friends, health, a job, a home and so much more.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the coming weeks with so much preparation for Christmas. There are gifts to buy, cookies to bake and decorations to hang, to name a few of the holiday must-do's. Without the blessings of loved ones, food and a warm home, there is no need for any of these things.
In the midst of the Christmas chaos, please take time to stop and visit with those you love, not out of obligation, but because you want to.
Remember why you try so hard to find that perfect gift; because you love someone and want to make them happy. Why not attend your chosen place of worship and give thanks for your countless blessings? While you're there, enjoy the special music or nativity play that the participants have worked so hard to perfect. Thanksgiving may be over for the year, but it's never too late for giving thanks.
Weatherman is a Trumbull County resident. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.