Ahhh…. it’s November. The air is crisp and cool. It’s time for sweaters, boots, and pumpkin spice exploding from coffee, to candles, to Frosted Flakes and Cheerios!
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. A day set aside long ago to give thanks to God for all of our blessings. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November, describing its purpose as “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise for our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
When I think of Thanksgiving day, I think of all my senses being roused…red, yellow, orange and brown leaves scattered in the yard, a warm fire and hugs from family members who I haven’t seen in a while, delicious smells drifting from the kitchen, gathering around the table for prayer and then the much anticipated tastes of turkey, dressing, and sweet potato pie, and then resting with a good nap and the sounds of football games in the background. This day alone is something to be grateful for.
Sadly, right on the heels of all that gratitude, Black Friday emerges, like a wicked witch left over from Halloween using tricks and spells (e.g., advertising) to lure people into darkness (e.g., debt). A day when retailers entice you with a free TV or Instant Pot knowing good and well-frenzied shoppers will end up spending money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need. A day when people who have camped out in front of stores will then trample old ladies and small children to get the trending gadgets or toys. Just Google “Black Friday chaos” or watch the first few minutes of Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, it seems holiday shopping has turned into the Hunger Games! It’s so out of control, someone has dedicated a website documenting deaths and injuries on Black Friday. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on the ticket for that crazy train.
What I love doing on the day after Thanksgiving is lighting a candle, making some hot chocolate, and cuddling up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book. I’m currently reading The Cozy Minimalist and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less just came in the mail so I am set for days of reading! If you are looking for ideas other than risking your life on Black Friday try one of these:
- Attempt a new recipe with your leftovers.
- Clean out a closet – see if there are any coats or socks that you might be able to donate.
- Make hot chocolate and play an old school board game with your family.
- Visit people who might be lonely in nursing homes or hospitals.
- Create a Turquoise Table and invite your neighbors over.
- Put on your favorite holiday music and start decorating for Christmas.
- Make popcorn, do that bluetooth thing on your TV and watch the videos on your phone.
- Choose a charity to support. I love what Two Blind Brothers are doing this year.
- Get outside and take a walk in nature. Florence Williams, explains how it makes us happier, healthier, and more creative in her book, The Nature Fix.
- Rest and have another day of thanks.
And speaking of having another day of thanks….I always wonder why we save only one day a year for this celebration. What if we tried to celebrate “thanksgiving” even after the turkey is gone? In her book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp states, “As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.”
When I take time to be thankful for all the blessings in my life and actually write a few down, I really do feel joy. However, it also makes me think about how I might try being a blessing to others…..by giving.
It doesn’t have to cost money, it could be the gift of time, words of encouragement, a hug or simply a smile. It doesn’t have to be a big production, you could just be “secretly incredible” like Bob Goff.
The importance of giving is emphasized several times in the Bible, it can be found in quotes by Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt and St. Francis of Assisi to name a few. Additionally, several scientific studies have found that the act of giving has numerous benefits including joy.
It seems that the sum of gratitude and selfless giving is joy. Thanks + giving = joy.
Wouldn’t it be great if we pushed this concept up higher on our priority list, it had a snowball effect, and our joy started spilling over to everyone we encountered?
I hope whatever you decide to do this Thanksgiving, it brings you joy.
Until next time…….Be Well.