Sunday, November 25, 2018

So the Holidays Begin

     I have a terrible confession to make. I hate Thanksgiving. All you do is sit around and overeat and watch football ... and I'm not a football fan. To add insult to injury, you often have to withstand the perils and pitfalls of traveling on some of the busiest days of the year, fighting traffic and airport lines and surly crowds.

     And then you're supposed to go shopping? I don't think so!

     Maybe it goes back to my childhood. Thanksgiving was a too-short holiday just before you had to start studying for exams or write the papers you'd been putting off for weeks. And then it's cold. And there are no decorations. No presents. And if your family is getting together, there's no doubt someone will have too much to drink and embarrass everyone.

     I remember one Thanksgiving when my two uncles got into a fistfight. But that's a story for another post (and that's what we call a tease).

     But thankfully, other people have a much better outlook. For example, Kathy Gottberg of SmartLiving365 says, "I doubt it is a surprise ... that one of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving." So this week she offers 10 Favorite Gratitude Quotes and Why They Matter. My favorite is the quote from Oprah Winfrey, but you may decide another one is even more telling in these tenuous times.

     Still, before you conclude that I'm an old curmudgeon, let me tell you ... I love Christmas!

     As I sit here at my desk, I'm noticing my neighbors across the street have put up Christmas lights that sparkle all along the bushes in front of their house, and a brightly lit Santa Claus stands happily on the front porch. I'll be putting out my Christmas lights in a few days -- nothing fancy, just a string of lights outlining the garage, but a cheery antidote to the dark December nights.

    Anyway, if you're having a tough time getting through the holidays, or for any other reason, you might want to check out Carol Cassara at A Healing Spirit. She says that when tough times hit, it's only natural to try to find a way out of them. But what if the way out is actually found by going within? So take a deep breath and spirit your way over to Find the Way In.

     Meryl Baer has a good attitude about it all -- or at least a sense of humor. She spent Thanksgiving with family in Florida. The trip involved a flight to Florida and a return trip five days later. She points out that air travel is not necessarily pleasant these days (understatement!), but as an optimist Baer tries to see the positives in The Upside of Air Travel, while also being grounded in reality as she revisits the flight home in The Downside of Air Travel.

     If you do decide to brave the stores -- or the internet -- for some timely Christmas shopping, Rita Robison on the Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide offers a list of the Top 10 Stores for Cyber Monday Shopping. When cyber shopping, she advises, be sure to compare prices, find out about return policies and use only secure websites.

     Meanwhile, Laura Lee Carter was curious about Black Friday. Check out her post Where Did the Term "Black Friday" Come From if you want the true story of this (somewhat) special day.

     Of course, if you're in sunny, balmy Los Angeles, you might have a whole different approach to the holidays. Rebecca Olkowski with has put together a list of Best Los Angeles Holiday Events, just in case you're in the area anytime between now and New Year's Eve. Even though there isn't any snow, she says, there is plenty of fun to be had.

     And finally, in the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to leave you with a laugh. So we turn to Jennifer of Unfold and Begin who is a big proponent of laughter. She feels that it keeps you young, and recently learned that it's helpful and has a positive effect on you during times of adversity. Find out more at Learn to Laugh at Trouble.

     Which reminds me . . . what kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth rock. Okay, okay, if the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for? Their AGE. Happy holidays!


Juhli said...

OK, I'll bite. Please tell us the story of the fistfight between your uncles!

Oddly I loved Thanksgiving as a child and teen but then I didn't have to deal with questions about why isn't so-and-so coming to your house this year, what will we do about side dishes to keep everyone happy, is the turkey done on time, etc. We keep trying to simplify and reduce the stress of hosting it and actually had a good time this year after we got past the "why is a pre-cooked turkey frozen and will it thaw in time?" (yes), is there enough cranberry sauce? (yes), will the cousin who never answered the invitation show up (yes but not until after dinner), and the complaint about my BIL going to a different celebration (he was invited there long before we got our act together)!

Rian said...

Tom, I haven't even written a Thanksgiving post yet as our company just left. And yes, it was full of family, food, and football... just as you said. The guys watched football after we ate and the rest of us hung around the fireplace talking. This is the part I like... the family sitting around talking (young and old). It's a bit stressful and getting harder to do it all here at the house (at 73), but in the end, I do love having us all together. Now, however, I will give myself a week of 'down-time'.

Tabor said...

Thanksgiving was always less stressful for me as a child and as an adult. No long lists of things to do. Just food and thankfulness.

Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Hey Tom! Thanks for including me in yet another Blogger Roundup! And sorry to hear that Thanksgiving isn't high on your list. You should visit us here in the desert southwest because with our GREAT weather this time of year, Thanksgiving is an outdoorsy kind of day. First we took Kloe for a long walk and stopped to get a coffee at the local coffee house. Later we rode our bikes over to the public Pickleball Courts where we met friends for a few games. Then home to clean up before meeting other friends for dinner at a local restaurant. No fuss, no muss. And lots of fun. Anytime you and B want to join us you are welcome. ~Kathy

Celia said...

Thanks for all the links. Our Thanksgivings have been good and our collective relatives/guests don't squabble on holidays (so far knock on wood). We try to get outside if the weather holds and we play a lot of board games. Football is not a feature but sometimes going to a post-dishwashing movie is. :-)

Jono said...

We keep it simple by staying home eating turkey, etc. sensibly, and reading, watching a movie, and other benign activities. I like to go for a walk and I don't watch football, either. I may shop online a little, but I live at least 80 miles from the nearest mall which is in another country where they had Thanksgiving a month ago or 120 miles to the nearest one in the US. I just like having a few days off to chill.
Can't wait to hear about the fistfight!

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Tom - I love how you write your Round-Up posts. They are very creative and always make me wonder "why didn't I think of that'!
I'm sad that you have had negative Thanksgiving experiences. Hopefully, the other posts helped soften you a bit? If not...we'll always have Christmas!! :)

Wisewebwoman said...

The enormity of these "holidays" always bowls me over. And not in a good way. The work alone. The expectations.

I find joy in the small stuff and never in the large. I'll remember the one lovely piece of music before the other noises took over. The one candle in the bathroom.

I simply don't understand the crazy shopping, the massive spending, the fanatical demands to be merry and happy.

Curmudgeonly yours,


Diane Dahli said...

What an upbeat post, Tom! And after telling us you were a 'Thanksgiving Grinch' (Glad you're not, after all). I love this style of post, where you refer to other bloggers—we have a great community!

David @ iretiredyoung said...

Something that I like about my early retirement is the time that I have to think about things. Today your post has made me wonder whether other countries have a Thanksgiving Day. According to Wikipedia, there are some, but not that many, and some of them aren't really similar to Thanksgiving in the US. From an outsider, I like the idea of a Thanksgiving Day.

I'm a Christmas fan like you, and I'm looking forward to having a family Christmas with our kids. On the decorations, Sally and I always have a debate about when the decorations should go up. For me, it would be a week or 10 days before Christmas until 12 days after, but Sally is like your neighbour, and she'd have them up now.

Janette said...

Thank you for the links. They always are interesting, and I just don't have the energy to look for interesting on my own right now.
Christmas is my favorite time of year as well. This year we are not putting up a tree- no kids to share it with at our house. Still lights, nativity sets and music will set the tone.

gigihawaii said...

I am glad I have family to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I spent Thanksgiving in a restaurant this year. It's not my favorite way to spend the holiday but I didn't have to cook. It's my favorite holiday, though, especially when I can get together with family members. We're all spread out so sometimes that's challenging.

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Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Hello Tom, Over the years I am always reminded by Buddy that it is time to decorate and enjoy the season. His love for the magic of Christmas time warms my heart and has me going even when my own spirit gets a bit low. I think Buddy keeps me motivated past my poor vision, ailing demeniated hubby who is now a moody challenge,and my family who are all distant but will come home to us this holiday season. Decorations go up December1 and the tree maybe a week before Christmas? Thanks for visiting my posts now and then. Happy Holidays

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