Season of Gratitude.

Peace on earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we’ll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He’ll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Can it be ` David Bowie and Bing Crosby Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
“It’s here! It’s here!” That is what I would say to my mom around the beginning of November in anticipation for Christmas.
I have always loved Christmas. I did then and I still do now.
The music, the sites, the sounds, the merriment, and yes, even the cold. (What was I thinking?)
From an early age, I loved waking up and trying to sneak to see what Santa brought, more then the actual gifts themselves (true very true, shocking huh) I loved spending the early hours of the day with my siblings while “Santa” And “Mrs. Santa” slept in, watching Christmas movies. Hoping for it to snow (I know I was crazy).
But it wasn’t the day itself that I just loved.
It was the whole season.
It was a time to bake with my mom and sneak dough. Yes, I might have had ulterior motives. Help her with wrapping, which at an early age I loved, and ended up wrapping better then she did (sorry mom) which I blame on my OCDness. Go shopping with her and help her spend her money on people, which usually involved going way over on them. I really am a great sister, and I swear my head isn’t that big…maybe just a little.
It was really the spirit of the season.
Even as a little kid I would always love giving presents better then receiving them. The impish games of trying to figure out what people were getting me then really the actual presents themselves. (I still do that, I was on the phone with my mom the other day, totally being a little shit and trying to guess the store she was in, it even made the clerk laugh…my job is done.)
Over the years Christmas has become so commercialized, the season starting earlier and earlier even before Halloween comes. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple years, I saw zombie snowmen/women in September.
And while I love Christmas, and am guilty of playing Christmas music the first of November….yes I am one of THOSE people.
I don’t forget what comes before Christmas.
Which to me is one of the most important holidays we have.
And no it isn’t because of Black Friday and Cyber Monday come after it. Though I might be stalking BCBG’s site right now, what I DO have some girly tendencies.
It isn’t the Macy’s day parade. Though really if you live in New York it IS overrated. Sorry folks, truth.
Or even the food, though as a reformed pastry chef, who to this day, the art of pie making still eludes me, ever frustratingly. (Thanks Pip’s Place for your scrumptious pecan and pumpkin pies for the second year in the row to grace my, I mean my sister’s Thanksgiving table. They are amazing people! So much better then my non existent pie making skills. Really people. Go. Get. Them! Sorry shameless advertising is over.)
Nope the reason Thanksgiving is so important, is exactly as the name says. Thanks. Giving. Day.
A day to give thanks. To be grateful for the joys of life. For those you get to spend it with. Whether it is family or friends.
Thanksgiving has become so commercialized that people actually forget it exists today. It is, oh lets eat the turkey before running off to Walmart at five that evening.
Trust me deals are great. Deals are amazing, see my BCBG comment above. I love deals!
But not if it interrupts the real meaning of what something is.
I love Thanksgiving, because it gives a chance before the craziness to appreciate the calmness. To feel the love of those around you. The love of life. The gratitude of life.
Maybe I am to yogi, or new age (hey my hair is getting long, and it IS close to white blonde…almost)
Or maybe it is because of everything I have been through in my twenty-three short years of life. Believe me I do not pretend to know everything.
But I do know, especially in the times we live in, we do need a little bit of gratitude. And while I don’t believe that gratitude should be limited just to the fourth Sunday of November, I think it is a good reminder to stop and smell the leaves, or snow.
Thanksgiving is the calm before the hectic storm. But even that has been pushed away in these hectic times.
I know many people complain about my listening to Christmas music before thanksgiving.
Yet, many of those same people are the ones who rush off to the stores to get deals on Thanksgiving day or night.
While I do think it is a little premature to put up Christmas trees before Halloween, for me listening to Christmas music in November isn’t forgetting about Thanksgiving.
It is reinforcing it.
The whole Christmas season from Thanksgiving onward, is about gratitude. It is about joy, celebration, family, love.
Things we should remember all year long.
While I don’t believe in the early commercialism of Christmas, I do believe we should celebrate what Christmas means beginning with Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving is what started it.
For the past several years, many people on Facebook have been doing a thirty day gratitude challenge, where you post what you are grateful for as your status.
While I think that is great, I have never taken part in it. Why? Because every time I get on my mat, which is every day (Okay almost, I do have sick days people, I am human) I am grateful for something. Whether it is my body (which if you know me, and read this blog, you know how hard that is for me) my family, the life I have, or just the scared practice of yoga. I am grateful for something.
And that is not just what Thanksgiving is, but the Christmas season as a whole.
It isn’t about the wheeling and dealing, or the food or the presents that companies have capitalized on. It isn’t even the stress of getting gifts, or cooking, that so many people gripe and complain about. It is something so much bigger then all of that.
But something so very simple. Gratitude.
If we focus on giving thanks on a Facebook status for thirty days, can’t we try to do it through Christmas too? What about all year?
While I love Pilgrims and cornucopias, Frosty, and Santa, Christmas Trees and Ribbons,  It isn’t why I love Thanksgiving or Christmas.
It is the spirit. The magic that miracles do happen. That you can change the world, or at least maybe a person’s life if not your own. It is the season to believe, not necissarily for religious reasons, but in the goodness and beauty of life again.
Three of my favorite Christmas songs, Are Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s renditions of “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy,” David Lennon and Yoko Ono “Happy Christmas War is over,” And Band Aid “Do They Know it’s Christmas.”
Not because they are cherry Christmas, snow drops and icicles (though i do like those songs). But because they inspire hope. They share what the season is really about. Hope.
Gratitude. Love.
The magical possibilities, that no matter circumstances, anything is possible if you believe. Which is something, as I have grown older, I have yet to lose. And I hope I never do.
Hope. Gratitude. Love.
The mantra of every day life.

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