Another friend posted a different picture - family gathered and visiting on Thanksgiving day - with a big, cheery Christmas tree in the background.
Leaving my mom's house on Thanksgiving evening I counted four homes on her street already lit with lights and Christmas decorations.
At first I was mad. Really, really put off. And then I became sad. And now I'm a pretty good portion of the both of them with a forced heaping helping of trying-not-to-care-what-other-people-do.
But, hold the gravy, people! What is going on here?
I'm trying to understand why people don't seem to care as much about Thanksgiving any more, why they treat it as little more than a pre-gaming event for Christmas, and I just can't figure it out. I do not understand. But gosh, do I ever miss Thanksgivings of my childhood.
My older cousins tossing a football outside. Homes decorated inside and out with cornstalks, straw bales, pumpkins and gourds. Wearing construction paper Indian headbands and pilgrim hats. Going to Mass to thank God for our blessings. Talking about American history and the first Thanksgiving. People visiting and playing games and napping during the long, quiet day.
Maybe I'm romanticizing my past, but I really think that my memories are correct: for most of my life the Christmas season didn't begin until firmly after Thanksgiving. Not just for Catholics and others who celebrate Advent - but everyone. Everyone. It was the culture of America.
People didn't leave Thanksgiving gatherings early to shop at Wal-Mart. (Wal-Mart, people!!) And they didn't sit around Christmas trees. Loved ones were more important than a good deal on a new thing. And gratitude - a real humble thankfulness - was significant enough that we didn't have to give ourselves warm fuzzies with twinkling lights and Christmas movies.
I wish we could go back to that - to the Thanksgiving of my childhood. Where we were so thankful for what we had that the gratefulness was enough. Where we all looked forward to a day of counting blessings, taking naps, and having some peace and quiet.
Or maybe the grown-ups just did a really good job of making me think that's what it was. If it was all just a trick well kudos to them! It worked and I'd like to give the same to my kids.
Black Friday comes soon enough - why not leave the tree-putting-up, crowded shopping centers, and all-Christmas-music-all-the-time radio stations for then? Why not really stop and foster a sense of appreciation for what we have before diving into a season of wishlists? Why not stop pre-gaming Christmas with Thanksgiving and just give thanks? Really, truly I am asking: why not?