I saw them the other day — Christmas decorations in all their glory showing up well before Thanksgiving. My first reaction was to shake my head. I thought to myself, “Doesn’t anyone enjoy Thanksgiving any more?” It seemed as if consumerism pushed Thanksgiving over in favor of the more lucrative Christmas season.
I’m now reading that “Black Friday” shopping may extend to Thanksgiving Day itself. I guess the must-have gadget just can’t wait to be purchased as it had in past years. What’s going on here?
Growing up in New England, Thanksgiving always held a special place in my family. The last high school football game of the year was played on Thanksgiving. My brothers would come home from college on Thanksgiving. An odd relative might come by for the day. The traditions, the food, and good company always made for a memorable day. It also seemed to be the break that was just long enough to get you to pause from the hectic pace of life.
As my wife and I are now raising a family of our own, we are trying to “extend” Thanksgiving so that it last more than just one day. It feels like the last “pure” holiday. No men in red costumes at the mall. No large, scary man dressed up in a bunny suit. It’s just an American day to be and to honor the principle of gratitude. We want our kids to be more grateful and realize all that they have in life.
So how can you extend Thanksgiving beyond the one obligatory day each year?
Start by looking within. Take a few minutes during your prayer time to thank God for the slightest of things. Your home, your family, a nice neighborhood, a safe commute, an organized workspace, gadgets, your faith, and so on. If you can have this conversation out loud, all the better. Don’t be embarrassed; there’s real power to vocalized prayer. If you can write it down, don’t fight it. If you can tell someone that you’re thankful for them, you’re really rolling. After a while, gratitude expands within you.
Before you know it, Thanksgiving will have increased from within and extended out towards those around you.