I have 2 holidays that I love. The first is Halloween, because it’s fun. It’s a chance to step outside yourself and be a little silly, do something no one expects of you. This year, handing out candy I was doing magic tricks for kids: pulling mysterious Halloween lights from the kids ears and doing fun slight of hand. I’m no magician but I played one this year. What fun.
The other favorite holiday is Thanksgiving but sadly, I think that the majority of us are missing the idea. Thanksgiving is seen as a day to be gluttonous, watch football from our easy chairs, and rest up for the onslaught of consumerism that is Black Friday. As we all think happiness comes when we have everything we want and thus never happy and never appreciative of what is all around us. But to be happy doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means being thankful for what you have and patient for what’s yet to come. When do we stop and realize that what is all around us is beautiful and enriching? When do we appreciate what we have instead of focusing on what we want?
My 4 year old is driving me crazy this year with “wanting” every toy advertised and asking us to “add that” to the Christmas list of everything he’s going to get. I tell him, to look around at how much he already has: so much that it litters the floor, so much that if something breaks, there is always more to play with. He has a brother who usually likes to play with him (other times likes to fight with him) and he has a mom and dad who love him. But he’s 4 and every outside voice is all about what he “should get” and “getting more” no matter what it is. It’s very frustrating to teach a child values when the environment surrounding him is appealing to his basest desires. I gave up celebrating Christmas years ago after working in a toy store and seeing a side of people that so disturbed me that I often felt physically sicked by it. It was either give in to it or give up. I became so disheartened that I gave up, I just couldn’t be a part of it.
So though I love Thanksgiving, I think we need to change our focus. Thanksgiving should be about being with family and friends. Sharing time with them. It should not be about the feast but the time together cooking it. Our days are precious and far too short with each other. Our collective “stuff” is far less significant and needs less time and attention than the people around us. As this special day comes near we should genuinely be thankful for all we have. If we squint our eyes just right we will see the mountains of things around us that just don’t matter. Then we should refocus and try to see what does matter. We should share our time, share our love and for Pete’s sake we should stop acting like a 4 year old.