This year, Christmas decorations were up in our mall by October 15th. The grocery store I frequent had them up by early November. Don't get me wrong, I love evergreen wreaths and brightly colored lights as much as the next girl. However, this was just too early. I was frustrated and it was for two reasons.
One, Thanksgiving might just be my favorite holiday and I don't like to see it pushed to the background. Turkey Day is about food, family, and being thankful. I enjoy the fact that there's no pressure to buy presents for friends and family. I mean, I'm horrible at giving presents. Don't believe me? I gave my fiance his Christmas present last year in February. February!
Two, what is it we're really celebrating? Are we putting our Christmas decorations up so early because we're just that excited to celebrate our Savior's decision to live with us and eventually die for us? Unfortunately, I don't think so. I think companies brilliantly realize that most of us have a desire to revert back to childhood and spend time with our loved ones. Christmas is the perfect time to take advantage of these emotions as nostalgia is hiding around all corners with every ornament brought down from the attic and each snickerdoodle baking in the oven. Christmas songs don't help either. Every one is about longing to go home for the holidays, but not being able to. How sad is that? One moment I'll be merrily singing along to "Jingle Bells" in my car and sobbing along with "I'll be Home for Christmas" the next.
Sparkling snowflakes hanging in our favorite store's window says, "Hey, I know you're sad you're not snuggling with your mom right now and watching Mary Poppins. So, come in and buy a nice cashmere sweater for her. It'll make everything better." And you know what? I've believed it!
This Thanksgiving I was cleaning out my room in my parent's house, trying get rid of things I don't need anymore. I was appalled at how junk much I had! I never used half of that stuff and I should have given it away years ago. Instead, it just sat in my room. Then, I started thinking about the quickly approaching December 25th and the useless gifts I would soon purchase for my friends and family. I feel like I never give them anything they really need and pretty soon it'll just be sitting in their rooms too. I still feel obligated to buy them something, though, because that's what you do for the people you love, right?
On Black Friday, one of my friends tweeted something about The Advent Conspiracy. She linked to a video and, being curious, I watched it. Basically, it summed up all my feelings about this holiday season and put them into words for me.
How do you feel about it? Would you substitute a store bought gift for quality time or a handmade creation? Would you consider giving your extra money away to charity? I want to know what you think.