Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Enjoy the Waiting

Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

Well, because sometimes, good things come to those who wait.

I was appalled to see this in the mall on November 9th! THE NINTH, people.

Hands down, my favorite month of the year is “Thanksgiving to Christmas.” I love that time when the weather is cooler, decorations are everywhere, Christmas music fills the air, families gather together, and a spirit of anticipation, excitement, hope, and love fills the hearts of non-Grinches everywhere.

This year, more than ever, I feel like my favorite time of the year is being distorted and manipulated into something less joyous and more . . . I can’t even think of the word . . . Selfish? Underhanded? Sacrilegious? It seems to me that instead of celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, retailers have led us to believe that it is all about Black Friday and Giftmas.

All I am thinking about on Thanksgiving is family and food.

It seems that Thanksgiving is now promoted merely as a pregame for a marathon of battling the crowds at the hottest stores to get this year’s must-have items. That is, if you aren’t completely missing out on Thanksgiving with family and friends because you have to work at one of the stores opening at 6am on Thursday. WHO GOES SHOPPING ON THANKSGIVING?! WHY AREN'T YOU IN A FOOD COMA?! Like this one: 
Shopping on Thanksgiving. I don't think so.
It blows my mind every year that people are already camped out in tents in front of stores! To each his own, I guess, but is that television really worth a week out on cold, hard concrete? I guess there could be family bonding in roughing it together, but I think that defeats the purpose. Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official federal holiday during the Civil War so that, despite all the trauma in their lives, Americans would take time to be grateful for what they had and the good things that remained, not to think about the things they wished they possessed. Call me cynical, but it makes me sad that retailers have been able to turn even Thanksgiving into an event less significant than a trip to the mall. 

And then there is Christmas. One of the beautiful things about being Catholic is the built-in Christmas preparatory season called Advent. We have three to four weeks, depending on the year, which lead us into the celebration of the birth of Christ. Each Sunday at church the excitement grows stronger as evergreen trees, wreaths, poinsettias, and candles are progressively added to the décor. Then, Christmas Eve, my favorite day of the year, arrives! Even as an adult I feel the jittery anticipation that consumed me as a small child. CHRISTMAS IS TOMORROW!

Obviously, retailers don’t care about religion or the meaning behind the season that boosts their sales so much during the month of December. Okay, fine. But what makes me sad is commercials like those from TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/Home Goods encouraging consumers to “outgift everyone.” For the love! I understand wanting to help people find the perfect gift for their loved ones, but now it’s a contest?! I am going to outgift everyone because I am awesome and I poured a lot of love into the gifts I am giving, not because I am a competitive shopaholic. Gift giving is a wonderful way to show someone you care, but it’s the one-upping/materialistic mentality that ruins it so easily. 

I do love giving someone the perfect gift! Look at Mama's smile!
I like waiting for good things, for surprises, for celebrations. What our society fails to realize is that the period of anticipation is fun! Today, so many people want whatever they think will make them happy RIGHT NOW! Sex, fast cars, big houses, more stuff, more stuff, more stuff. Few have the patience or self-control to simply wait for something. Waiting brings with it hope and it fills me with joy in knowing something good is going to happen. Over-anticipation is like hearing that catchy new tune on the radio - it was good the first five times and now it is just annoying. When we start celebrating Christmas in October, it ruins the specialness of the real Christmas season, which is actually December 25-January 6. This holiday season I encourage you to get excited, find a way to show the people in your life that you love them, help others, sing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs, watch Elf 12 times, and take a moment to think about what all of this is for, and simply enjoy the waiting!
Advent Candles, lit in anticipation of Christmas!

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