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Reasons to be thankful for the holidays

November 16, 2012
Andrea Hines , Shepherdstown Chronicle

What makes me thankful as the holiday season arrives once again? As the inevitable rush of retail store ads and TV infomercials pound us relentlessly with annoying pressure and the tacky yet somewhat nostalgic plastic holiday decorations fill every available space in every store, I think, "I am not ready yet!" .

As they beg us to believe that this year we possibly may actually need that spinning fiber optic rainbow LED mini Christmas tree, or that giant air filled North Pole elf singing snow globe yard event, I can only say "Not yet!"

This year, like each year, I say no to it all. I fantasize about spending Christmas on a big boat in the tropics, lounging seaside and sipping cocktails in a sarong under a palm tree covered in red and green blinking string lights. 'YES!" I say to the Santa in my head, "This is what I want!"

But hold on a minute. In between the not so subtle hints that Christmas is practically tomorrow, and the multi-aisle sale racks of leftover Halloween decorations, I see a small shelf in a small aisle still filled with, yes, autumn; the season that is actually here.

Go away skeletons and plastic rats; go away Rudolf! We will see you soon but not yet. I want to enjoy the here and the now if you don't mind. I want to savor all the savory things about Thanksgiving. I love the crackling fire, the smell of smoke wafting through the neighborhood on a crisp post supper walk, the perusing of delicious looking recipes, the fragrance of roasting herbs and spices, the coordinated planning of the table and yes, even the ironing of the linens.

The best part about Thanksgiving for me is making the house extremely cozy, welcoming and most of all, warm. I want to laugh and eat and be with family and friends. These gifts are far better than all of the plastic glow in the dark snowmen and solar powered giant candy canes in the entire world.

But what am I thankful for? I am thankful for the concept, the sheer willpower of the Holiday Tradition. As much as I may dream about my island escape from it all, the truth is it would not be the holidays for me to be anywhere else but where I am.

I am thankful for the concept of balance to keep me standing firm at the end of it all. And I am thankful to all the people who love me and for letting me lean on them when it all becomes too much. I am thankful for all these things but I realize I am so grateful to be here in this life, as crazy as it can be, healthy, with everyone and everything I need beside me. I am grateful for my life, in all its interesting facets and looking ahead to what the next year may bring, and what I can try to bring to the table.

I do feel the tug of Christmas, but I refuse to let it take me away from the uniqueness of Thanksgiving. I will eventually succumb to its full gravity pull, but only after dinner is over and everything that is the color orange or yellow is put away.

That first roll of silver reindeer wrapping paper will start the race, ignite this year's theme and help to solidify the plans. Everyone I love will receive yet another handmade gift this year. And someday, when I win the lottery, I will make it up to them by taking them on a big boat in the tropics, lounging seaside sipping cocktails in sarongs under palm trees covered in blinking red and green string lights. That is, if any of us can bear to pull ourselves away.

 
 

 

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