It has been a custom in our family to try to avoid all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving dinner. We don’t wear Christmas themed clothes or sweaters until after Thanksgiving. We don’t listen to Christmas music until we put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, which is our tradition instead of joining the craziness of Black Friday shopping. The girls are not to start talking about what they want for Christmas. (This never sticks, and as the main gift shopper a little discussion about this early on is helpful.) Even I would do my part by not ordering a Peppermint Mocha or buying Peppermint Bark until after Thanksgiving! My husband and I made this effort with the best of intentions to be sure our girls were filled with gratitude before joining in with the commercialism “I wants” of the Christmas season.
This year seems different. When the girls weren’t with me, I admit, I have already had a few Peppermint Mochas while enjoying conversation with friends. A few days after Halloween I heard Christmas music coming from upstairs. I went up and the oldest quickly turned it off. With a smile on my face I told her she could leave it on, but while pointing my finger told her to keep it in her room. Guess who decided to stay in that room with a Pandora Christmas station playing and help her put away her laundry?!?! My little one excitedly played her favorite Christmas CD in her bedroom. A few days later we were listening to Christmas music in the family room and in the kitchen. It’s not constant. It’s not frequent. It does bring joy.
I don’t think it’s completely wrong to experience a little early some aspects of the wonderful, miraculous season that is Christmas. My husband isn’t even complaining about it or expressing concern that we aren’t taking time to be thankful first. The girls seem to know how to minimize their toy catalog gazing and discussions. When they do discuss, because I have asked for planning purposes, the conversation is about a gift they want for the two of them to SHARE. They have favorite traditional carols which remind them of Christ, the true gift of Christmas. They are thinking ahead about what gifts to give to others.
Why has it changed this year? Nothing has changed for the girls other than I am not stifling their Christmas spirit. What has changed for me? I think it has something to do with the events over the past few months in our national and world news. We are all in need of the extra joy and love the Christmas season brings. We need Christ every day, but it seems as a society we naturally think of Him more at Christmas. We need to keep our focus on Him in these trying times of our world.
We have not forgotten Thanksgiving. We take time to give thanks every day. Instead of the children feeling like we are getting through Thanksgiving before doing anything related to Christmas, this week we will joyfully prepare for our family Thanksgiving.