It's that tricky time of year. There are still some golden leaves left on the trees, the weather is giving us a taste of what winter temperatures will be like, at least one radio station is playing Christmas music, the Hallmark movies are in full swing, and some of Santa's helpers can already be seen in the mall. So what does that mean for you and me?
Christmas is a very special holiday for me; as well, so is Thanksgiving. Christmas is a time for family. For me it is more about celebrating the birth of Jesus, but 'YES' I will admit I also like the season. The twinkling lights, the smell of cinnamon and evergreen, the laughter of children, and most of the decorations (still not sure I understand what the flying pig with a Santa hat is supposed to represent). There are those who will cringe and protest and say that it is all happening too soon. There are those who will say Christmas has gone completely commercial ... and they'd probably be right. BUT ... the season is what you choose to make of it. If you don't want to shop now, then don't. If you don't want to send out Christmas cards this year, then don't. If you don't believe in shopping on Thanksgiving day, then don't (I know I won't). BUT, don't be mad that the season is starting early.
My suggestion: Set a budget that YOU are comfortable with (don't go overboard and don't go in debt over it), make your list of what you'd like to buy or how you want to celebrate the season, and start now ... slowly and at your own pace. I have my short list and will be shopping early. There are bargains and sales out there NOW. My goal is finish before Thanksgiving. Then I have the month of December to truly enjoy the Christmas season. I will write out some Christmas cards, I will bake a few cookies, I will try to gather with friends and be social, we will put our tree up and decorate, and my family and I will try to make a difference.
On Thanksgiving (and every other day) we will pause and remember all of the things we have to be thankful for; a roof over our heads, food to eat, family that we love, good health, our faith, and our values and priorities. We will think of ways we can give back during what can be a busy, chaotic, and lonely season for many. How can you be there for someone else? The list is endless.
- You can bake some cookies and visit a home bound friend or neighbor.
- You can buy an extra winter coat and donate it to a coat drive.
- You can take a tag or two from the many giving trees you'll find at your school or church.
- You can pay it forward and buy lunch for the table next to you or the person behind you in line.
- Or, since it's not all about money you can simply call someone you haven't talked to in a while and not only talk, but listen.
Combine your holidays ... Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Be thankful for what you have and what you have to offer and MAKE A DIFFERENCE this season. And more importantly, don't be embarrassed to say 'Merry Christmas' in public.