The other day I was sitting in a popular coffee shop sipping a decaf and working on my computer, thinking about how nice it was to be out alone (with neither friends, spouse, nor offspring, for a change), enjoying my day and getting my work done, when out of the blue I realized that I was suddenly beginning to feel extremely uncomfortable and agitated. At first, I was mystified by my abrupt change in mood, so I decided to “tune in” to my surroundings and see what the problem could be.
It didn’t take long to discover the source of my angst. Quite simply, it was the music that was being played in the shop: “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson, a holly-jolly, uplifting song that is just right for a frosty December morning. (“Just hear those sleigh bells jin-gle-ing, ring-ting-tin-gle-ing, too…”)
But not for a mid November morning, in my opinion. I then glanced around and realized that all the display cases were filled with bags of “Christmas Blend” coffee, and bright red mugs sporting snowmen. “What a shame there’s no such thing as a holiday called Thanksgiving,” I heard one of the cashiers quip. Alas, the poor young man had been listening to Christmas-in-November music for hours. At least I could pack up my laptop and leave, which is exactly what I did!
I stepped out into the warm November air (it happened to be a sunny morning in the high fifties) with a sense of relief, but I was plagued for the rest of the day by that Christmas tune in my head, and the nagging question, “What’s the rush?” Is there some pressing reason why we can’t have Thanksgiving and then Christmas? (Right-wingers are always alleging that the liberals are trying to steal Christmas, but it seems that the real holiday that’s been absconded with is the one that occurs on November 24th.) Why is it necessary to race through or completely ignore a holiday that has to do with gratitude and sharing?
And why, I asked myself, must we rush, anyway? Life speeds by quickly enough all on its own without us giving it a push. I for one would rather savor the month of November which this year has been delightfully mild than race headlong into snow storms, ice, and holiday credit card bills.
Don’t get me wrong—I love December and I adore the winter holiday season—in due time. In yoga we have a funny little saying: “What time is it? Now. Where are we? Here.” And as for Christmas, “We’ll get there when we get there.” Last time I checked, the date was in December: just ask my Christmas cactus, which hasn't bloomed yet!
So enjoy your family and friends, and Happy Thanksgiving to all!
(And an extra special Happy Anniversary to Ruthann and Thomas, my sister and brother-in-law, married on November 25 for 50 years--living proof that love and enjoying the journey are what it’s all about.)