The BLUR of the Holidays

112614-Halloween  112614-Thanksgiving   112614-Christmas

In The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, we are guided to live in the present. It is hard to be in the present when the three holidays in the last quarter of the year cross over to the point that the lines of where one begins and another ends are blurred.

Each of these holidays is distinctive, The only thing they have in common is food or candy. Other than that, Halloween is in October, Thanksgiving in November and Christmas in December.

I confess that throughout the year, I keep my eyes open for birthday and Christmas presents when I stumble upon them. I like to buy something for someone that is not just a “give-a-gift” kind of thing, but actually shows some thought was put in to the gift, because that person is important to me.

I also buy things at the end of the season. After Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, I might, though not always, buy things for the following year at the marked-down prices. I do this after the holiday.

While people were thinking costumes at Halloween this year, retailers were putting out the Christmas decorations and gifts. I felt it was all about the money. I was not ready to think Christmas, but I, like most of us, found myself right in the middle of the Christmas stuff oohing and aahing over this season’s finds.

I have often caught myself being side-tracked by the merchandise and gotten back to my original mission. Sometimes, I even find myself purchasing that item, almost against my will. Why would I do that when I find it so distasteful to put out Christmas before Halloween and Thanksgiving have even happened?

I believe it is for two reasons. First, Christmas is my favorite holiday. Second, I have learned that many of the stores only order so many of one item. If you think you will go back and get that thing that caught your eye later, you can forget it. The item is usually gone and they do not re-order. This also surprises me, because it defies the law of marketing. If something is selling out, you order more.

This year, it seems we are trying to rush everything. Some people already have their tree up, the outside lights in place, a wreath on the door and are ready to go shop on Black Thursday – the day that is still Thanksgiving. Black Friday has been replaced by Black Thursday in some of the stores.

The stores take their lead from we the consumers. If we buy earlier or if we go shop for Christmas on Thanksgiving Day, that is a sure sign to retailers that we want that!

I come from the era where there was anticipation. As children we could not wait to get home from school to get ready to go out for Halloween. We talked about and planned what we were going to be for weeks. We had something to look forward to.

After Halloween, we were planning who was making what for Thanksgiving, and planning the trip to Grandmother’s house, where we would see our friends and relatives. We looked forward to the special food items, eating in the dining room on the fine china, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and, of course, football. We enjoyed the day for what it was.

The day after Thanksgiving, it was our family’s tradition to put up the tree. We decorated it and as we unpacked the decorations, we recalled the meaning of each ornament. When done, that meant the Christmas Season was then underway.

Entering December, we looked forward to shopping for the right present, addressing the Christmas cards, going to the downtown Christmas parade, baking and decorating cookies and holiday confections, driving around and looking at the Christmas decorations, watching Miracle on 34th Street, or It’s a Wonderful Life, going to Christmas parties, receiving carolers at our door, or just going to sit on Santa’s knee and tell him what we wanted for Christmas.

We knew that at some point before Christmas, we would get the Christmas Spirit. You didn’t catch it, it caught you. It entered your heart and made you feel the reason for the season. We gave extra money to charities. food to those in need, placed our change in the Salvation Army’s kettle; we did not want anyone to go without. The sights and sounds of Christmas make our hearts light, and those good feelings allowed us to experience what we called The Magic of Christmas.

I believe we must keep up with technology; I believe we must shop local; I believe we should give of ourselves by helping others, not just during the holidays, but definitely during the holidays. I also believe that old fashioned values have a place in our lives, whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday.

I know that merchants have been financially challenged since 2008. I know that they need the seasonal things to be successful so they can stay in business. We are going to buy, no matter what, if we can.

Traditions are passed on in families – they are the ties that bind. Families coming together, saying, “Remember when we strung popcorn for the tree, or the Christmas when we made all of our presents?” or some other sentient that they recall as a memory of the heart. That is part of our story.

The world feels like it is changing; something feels different. We can all stop that merry-go-round and get off. We can resurrect looking forward to the momentous occasions of the holidays, but we have to be in the NOW.

I invite you to join me this holiday season and genuinely think about the reason for each holiday. Think about some of the things you once looked forward to as a child, things you have forgotten. Re-create one or more of those things this year. Get that feel-good feeling again. It costs you nothing but a bit of quiet reflection and focus.

I BELIEVE if we remove the blur from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. we will become reacquainted with ourselves and what is really important. That is the gift of being in the moment, or living in the Power of NOW.

Though there is controversy over the author of the following quote, it is so appropriate for giving your attention to what is currently before you: Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift, that is why it is called THE PRESENT.

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