Whatever Happened to Thanksgiving?

I’m shopping the Halloween clearance racks at the major chain stores and notice the Christmas stuff right next to it.  I immediately thought, Where’s the Thanksgiving stuff?

So I started shopping around for it and after walking around for a bit I found one aisle off by itself with mainly tea towels and table decorations of turkeys and owls.  Not much else.

Is it just me or does Thanksgiving seem to be skipped?

Did you know Halloween is the second most lucrative “holiday” for retailers after Christmas?   $7  billion dollars worth of Halloween paraphernalia is sold.  Christmas does about $450 billion.

Thanksgiving?  A mere….footnote before Christmas.  Consumers spend $30 billion at Thanksgiving.  More than Halloween, right?  Yes, but not as profitable because the money spent at Thanksgiving is mostly food, which does not carry as high of a mark-up as Halloween items do; hence, it’s less profitable.

Shame, isn’t it?

It’s a shame that the “holiday” (although in my opinion Halloween is not a holiday) of Halloween is so celebrated in this culture.  93 % of children elementary age go trick-or-treating.  That is a HUGE number!  That is more than the percentage of the population who celebrate Christmas.

Sad….very, very sad.

How what began as a pagan celebration has now evolved into one of the most celebrated “holidays” in the United States.

I myself can’t stand Halloween.  We do not celebrate it.  My kids don’t trick-or-treat.  (The origin of the phrase is from those who actually used to play pranks on others–and not so nice pranks).  It drives me nuts.

The only reason I like Halloween is for the half-off merchandise the day after.  For years, my kids have gotten all of their dress-up clothes at these sales which I then save for Christmas presents.  We also get some candy half-off as well.

So after the windfall of Halloween, the greedy retailers then turn to Christmas, the biggest shopping season of the year.  Fine.  They have to turn a profit as well.

But Thanksgiving seems to be skipped.  It just doesn’t sell.  Is this because of the retailers or because of us consumers who put greater emphasis on Christmas?  You can be the judge of that.

We must take the time to be grateful for Christmas.  A holiday that gave us Christ, our Lord and Savior, and without which we would be nothing.

The Pilgrims and the Puritans had it right.  We must give thanks to God for our bounty throughout the year.  And it should be more important than a day that involves dressing up as scary monsters and zombies and scaring your relatives.  After all, Christmas is a national holiday; Halloween isn’t.

My point to this rant is this:  we should not allow Thanksgiving to be squeezed out of our memory.  We should be grateful every day for being alive every day.  We need to take more than one day to thank Him for everything He has given us.  And we need to focus on our gifts from Him instead of what gifts we can buy on Black Friday.

Thanksgiving deserves a more honored place in our society.  More so than Halloween.  I think in most people’s hearts it does.  But if one is not careful, thanks and giving will be squeezed between candy and Santa.

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I Am Lost…

I actually googled this and nothing helpful came up so I thought I’d write about it…

"Hey, is this the right place?!"

“Hey, is this the right place?!”

I am lost.

And depressed.

I don’t know which direction to go. Which direction God wants me to go.

I get up in the mornings….lost.

I have no desire to write.

So I toot around on the Internet for a bit.

Then I look around the house for all those miscellaneous projects to do that I never usually make time to do.

Then I do them.

Then I’m lost again.

I think about this time last year and my life was in turmoil:  we were moving.

Today, it’s in turmoil; just in a different way.

Life always seems like this to me.  Just when things seem to be on the uptake, it falls.

The specific contributing factors change.  Today it’s how my husband’s new job is not what he thought it would be.  How we’ve burned through $10,000 in savings in the last few months just paying the bills (and, yes, buying up guns–we are one of THOSE people). And how the book I spent 2 years of my life working on is once again going nowhere and is a pages file on my computer.

So where do I go from here?

My husband wants me to find a way to make money online.  Not all that easy.

Me?  I’d rather get a real job again.  It’s easier.

I’d rather write.

But every time I sit down to write, nothing comes out.

Frustrating.

And so far I haven’t earned one dime from my writings.

I just had a birthday and I think, What do I got to show for all these years on earth?

Kids aside, not much.

And I know in one year circumstances will change.

But it will be something else…

And will I always have this lost feeling?

And I’m not talking spiritual here.  For I know God.

I am lost in a different way…

A way I pray will not be there next year…

The Miracle of Saint Nicholas

Alexi is walking with his babushka on Christmas Eve in a small village in Russia. He wonders why they won’t celebrate Christmas in church.

His babushka explains how long ago soldiers closed the church and threatened to take anyone away who are found inside.  Shortly afterwards, all the items in the church disappeared.

Curious, Alexi visits the church a bit later and finds it open.  He enters and begins cleaning up inside.  He collects pine boughs and places them near the altar.

Soon, the whole village comes to see what Alexi is doing.

After dinner, Alexi returns to the church to find how all the villagers have brought relics and church items their grandparents had taken when the church closed.  His own babushka even had the painting of Saint Nicholas kept safe in her barn.

All wait in the church for the priest who turns out to be the shoemaker.  He was hidden from the soldiers by the people.

Candles were lit and the Christmas service was just how babushka remembered.

This childrens’ book by Gloria Whelan will surely delight with it’s surprise ending.  I loved how all it took was one little boy to bring God back into a little village that had forgotten.  It was as if the villagers were all just waiting for someone to take the first step.

Like God waits for us to say “Yes” to Him.

The Legend of the Candy Cane

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg tells the story of a man who moves to a new town and opens a candy shop.  He explains to a little girl the meaning of the candy cane, saying it looks like the letter J for Jesus and if you turn it upside down, its the shepherd’s staff.  The white represents us after we’ve given ourselves to Jesus (washing away our sins we become pure) and the red stripes represents Jesus’s suffering and blood when he died on the cross.

The story is followed by the true story of what we know about the candy cane (it was made to resemble the shepherd’s staff) and what we don’t.

Great read.  Great Christmas story.  Great ideas.  Great way to talk about Jesus to kids who know Him and those who don’t.

Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy–Is It Worth It?

At my Bunko group last night, one mom described how she was struggling with her daughter (8 years old) who had recently point-blanked asked her if she was the tooth-fairy and how one of her friends at school keeps telling her daughter that she is Santa Clause.  Yet, she wants to keep up the farce for the sake of her 6 year old who still believes so she continues to deny the truth and enable the farce.  She went on to describe how once they forgot to give the money for the tooth fairy and her daughter was in tears over it.

She asked me my opinion on the matter and I said, “We don’t do Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy.”

“Why not?” she asked.

“Because I don’t lie to my kids,” I answered.

It’s true.  My husband and I decided before my first child was born we weren’t going to do Halloween, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, or whatever else was made up in this society because it is lying to our children and I think ultimately leads to disappointment and disillusionment once they find out the truth.  Parents think it’s all innocent fun until their kids do get older and they find out the truth–that you did lie to them and sometimes resulted in them looking like fools in front of their friends–something usually unwanted in delicate, developing, impressionable souls.

I tried to keep my mouth shut (believe it or not) because I am so strongly opinionated on most matters that I end up offending people.

It’s more important for me to teach my children they can believe every word that comes out of my mouth than to have pictures of my 4 and 5 year old with Santa Clause at the mall in my scrap book.  These days kids don’t know what to believe any more and their one sanctity should be their parents–not society or the Santa on the street corner holding up a “Buy one pizza Get one free” sign.

I’m curious as to your thoughts and experiences in this matter. Did you do Santa Clause and/or the Tooth Fairy?  If so, how did your kids find out and what were their reactions?  Or did you not do these and why not?

Christmas–A Depressing Time of Year?

It seems like every year around this time I get down and sometimes depressed.

Last year I was definitely depressed: my husband found out the day before Christmas he would be laid off in a week.

This year, I’m just down for whatever reason.  It’s the time of year I look back and look at my goals and see how little I’ve actually accomplished.  Mainly, it’s my writing/professional goals that have fallen short and, being this is what I believe my purpose to be (besides being a wife and mother first), it’s very disheartening.

Yet, good, unexpected things have happened as well:  BSF and this blog that has taken off to heights I never imagined.  I’ve learned a whole lot from the Bible I’ve never learned before.  I’ve read quite a bit of the Bible (although haven’t finished it yet).  Read some good books.  Discovered some new music.  Wrote some good books.  Became healthier and stronger and hopefully a better wife and mother.  Discovered I actually liked homeschooling and miss it.

It’s probably the Devil coming against me–as always at this time of year when our Savior was born.  When things are going good, he steps in to try and take you down.

So, I’m going to power through these last few weeks, shake off some annoying things around me, and continue in prayer and thanksgiving for all of my blessings.  I’m going to force myself to honor my social commitments (when all I really want to do is crawl into my heated waterbed with my two mangy old dogs and a good book), school commitments, spiritual commitments, and every other commitment on my life. And I’m going to try to be happy about it until this too passes, the weight lifted from my mind, and I feel like myself again.

Christmas Day

December 25th has finally arrived (not soon enough for my kids!).  It was nice but my heart is still heavy.  There are just so many unknowns right now that I’m struggling to just do the daily stuff:  cooking, cleaning, etc.

Between not getting financed for my truck, my husband getting laid off and being led on that he might still get hired again after the first of the year, me wanting to move because I don’t like living here, it’s hard to just…plan or do anything.  It’s all overwhelming really.

To say I have the Christmas Blues would be an understatement.  I’m trying to be happy but you can’t force something you don’t feel.

It’s snowing here which I normally wouldn’t mind on Christmas but it’s snowed so much that it only dampens the mood even more.

I’m trying to do New Year Resolutions but I don’t even know where I will be living in the New Year so I really don’t even know where to begin.

It’s all just depressing, really.  If I listened to a local pastor here who preached a few weeks ago that depression is selfish and if I would only give more to others, I’d be fine, then I guess I’m just being selfish.  Obviously he’s never been depressed before.  To say I miss my old church would be a HUGE understatement.