Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Comes First - A Bit Of Why

Before anything else, I want to say "Thank You!"

Thank you for caring. Thank you for trying. Thank you for everything.

Last year, I began a campaign to stop avaricious merchants from ruining our holidays with their greed. Thanksgiving Comes First was an attempt to keep things in perspective. I asked you to post about it, place a logo on your website, and spread the word as you saw fit and were comfortable in doing so. Many of you helped, and for that I am truly thankful.

Unfortunately, some folks still don’t get why I do this, why I try to make a difference, why I undertake such a seemingly quixotic battle. I don’t suppose I can repeat this often enough, so I’ll do so again. I love Christmas. I love the entire Christmas season, but only when it stays within its traditional bounds. When I say “Thanksgiving Comes First”, I don’t do so only to strengthen the American traditional holiday set aside for offering thanks. I also say it with the hope of keeping Christmas from becoming something lesser.

Make no mistake about it. The further Christmas expands, the weaker it becomes. The lovely Christmas music I adore turns into an annoyance when shoved in my face for two months running. The images that are treasured in my memory – those that endure through the strength of love, and subsequently fill me with warmth in the recalling – are rendered cold and cheap when co-opted to sell product. The very real becomes pale imitation; the extremely good, an evil. And with each passing year of unfettered expansion, my sacred holiday becomes increasingly trivial and profane.

Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday in and of itself, but Christmas – the traditional, lovely, December Christmas – gives it special meaning and strength. I truly do offer thanks on Thanksgiving, and I not only offer thanks for that which has come before, but also for that which WILL come. That’s a huge part of what being a Christian is about, the expectation of future good. When the Christmas holiday’s joy, passion, gifts, celebration, and (yes) expectations overrun the days when giving thanks should be foremost, it renders those thanks more hollow, lesser in power, and increasingly rote. Having either one of these holidays (holy days) stripped of power is, to my mind, tantamount to blasphemy.

(The obvious questions, usually asked by non-believers, are as follows: Why do you need to have a special day to give thanks? Wouldn’t expansion of Christmas to a year-round basis be a tremendous thing, considering the values it supposedly represents? I can only answer that, yes, faith should be enduring, and thanks should always be forthcoming. The calendar shouldn’t dictate our relationships, nor outside influences dictate our beliefs. But, they do. That’s just the way it is with humans. We’re made that way. And, if that doesn’t satisfy you, all I can say is that, while I’m part of the human race, I refuse to be made to feel that I need to apologize for us as a whole. Apologizing for my own shortcomings is a full-time job that I’m not exactly acing, so I’m not going to take on any added assignments at the moment, thank you very much.)

Enough about me. You all had your own reasons for helping with this. Some of your reasons match mine, but some don’t even come close. I respect your reasons with no reservation, much as I hope you respect mine. And I am thankful beyond power of the written word for your participation.

Here are all of the people who helped. This listing is, of course, limited to those of which I’m aware. There will most certainly be someone left out here. While that’s a true shame, I’m no less thankful to you if your name has somehow been omitted. Drop me a line and point me in your direction. I’ll be glad to add you.

Here's proof that we're doing the right thing - Universal Hub. And here's the original posting from that great site.

And here are your individual posts. God bless you all!

First post of the year came from Teresa at Technicalities

Then, the lovely Sarah from Que Sarah Sarah

Followed by...

Nana Net, from Check-N-Out Life

Prudence, from Prudence Ponder, who says she has sold out. Boo! Shame on you, Prudence!

Aside from posting the "Thanksgiving Comes First" logo, there are lots of great Wonder Woman shots over at House Of Eratosthenes. Thanks, Morgan!

My good buddy, Buck, from Exile In Portales.

Kris, at Reflections By Kris.

Thimbelle has written one of my all-time favorite TCF posts at Creeping Towards Normal. And she has added another here (which has a bit more to do with Christmas.)

Philmon, at The Clue Batting Cage.

Michelle (my darker gray friend, as I am her lighter gray friend) at The Surly Writer.

Heidi, at Heidi's Moments. And, again at Heidi's Photos.

Dusty Lens (who was pissed about this even before me last year - poor guy!) has promised another piece. When it is published, I'll insert the link here. And here it is - Thanksgiving Comes First.

Janet, at Adventures In The 32-Aker Wood (who really seems to enjoy using parentheticals almost as much as I do.)

Laurie, at Soldiers' Angels New York (which appears to be a very nice blog in and of itself, as these people try to make soldiers lives a bit more comfy.)

Blogger's Delight picked up my Cousin David's piece from last year.

Apparently, we are creating a buzz. That's all I can infer from the fact that BuzzTracker is tracking us! Woo-Hoo!

In the same vein, BlogNetNews has picked up on it.

Good thoughts from Cole at Running The Marathon Of Life.

This website came about with no knowledge of mine, so far as I know. It is called 100 Days To Christmas. This is their entry wherein they ask you to consider what you have to be thankful for.

Fat, Frumpy & Fifty doesn't decry a lack of Thanksgiving, per se - she doesn't live in a country where it's celebrated - but is certainly in the right spirit overall.

My Dedham (a suburb of Boston, for those of you not from around here) gave us a link, and added some nice wishes.

A nice mention at A Nest Amid Thorns.

Some Cranky Guy (sounds like me!) gave his thoughts (which sound like mine!)

Miss Von Shtoop over at Shamrag has joined the fray, same as she did last year, bless her. She has also added a list of places to boycott, on her sidebar.

Lady Laurie at Rose Cottage got in just under the wire with hers! Thank you, dear!

One more time: If I missed you, please let me know. Thanks! You’re all in my prayers, whether you want to be or not.


I did, indeed, forget someone. As a matter of fact, two someones.

First, the lovely Anali at Anali's First Amendment. This is her second year participating, so I am especially shamed to have missed her entry.

Second, this from Live Journal, given a start by friend of the cause Ron Newman.

In addition, another post was put up just after I published yesterday. It is from Green Jello. It is a cartoon, well worth seeing. If I could put it up on billboards around the country, I would.

And one more, from 11/18 - Graham's Live Journal.


Angie Ledbetter said...

"The further Christmas expands, the weaker it becomes." I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but this makes me think.

Unknown said...

I like to think that thanks and cheer are emotions I exude throughout the year, bringing the holiday spirit into my everyday life, but you are so right that it is not always about that to everyone out there; diluted thanks (while still thanks of course) are not as powerful as they should be.

lime said...

i agree with you wholeheartedly....i just haven't gotten around to posting about it formally. i'm such a slacker. and to be sure, thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all simply because it's about gratitude rather than "gimme gimme" and it's really hard to pervert that unless you completely ignore the point of the day.

~j said...

there's a town nearby where it's now illegal to display Christmas decorations (whether at home or for sale at stores) more than 60 days before Christmas. it's still too long, but it's a step in the right direction. Christmas decor went on sale the first of October here and Christmas music started Nov 1st. ugh!

GreenJello said...

I did a post just for you today. :)

Buck said...

My reasons are much the same as yours, Jim, in that I HATE to see Christmas diminished by overexposure.

We're losing the battle, if not the war, by the looks of things. My teevee is already overrun with Christmas ads and I'm hearing Christmas music all too often these days... with Thanksgiving still ten days away. (sigh)

Cath said...

If I ever need a crusader, I know who I'm gonna call...

Good on you Jim. You are passionate about something and won;t stay down. I say power to you.
And all your supporters / helpers.

Shammickite said...

I prefer to put up Christmas stuff on Dec 21 and take it all down again on Twelfth Night, which as everyone knows is Jan 6... but it often doesnt last much longer than Jan 1, I'm so fed up with it all by then.
I am boycotting all stores that play Christmas music in November.
And they ALL do here in Florida!

ListPlanIt said...

Let's ponder this. I LOVE Christmas, but if I actually want to enjoy the season, I have to start thinking about it well in advance. I am a mom to 3 young children. Our lives are busy with school, homework, afterschool activities, and family time. Now, I am in no way advocating for Christmas music or decorations before Thanksgiving, but because October to December is so busy with major holidays, it is important for me to start thinking and planning (gifts, meals, activities, crafts, parties, etc) early. I want to enjoy December! I want to be like a kid during the month of December. That means I get my Christmas cards and everything else that has become a part of the tradition of Christmas done before December begins.

Anonymous said...

listplanit, I can certainly understand where you are coming from... Between My Mom's medical problems, and Twinks continuing medical issues, I *HAVE* to plan ahead.

But I think there is a difference between buying presents ahead (I try to stockpile gifts all year, to lessen not only the financial impact, but also the shopping frenzy) and participating in the rampant expansion of the Christmas season into the months preceding. Where we live, we saw Christmas merchandise as early as SEPTEMBER this year. If I understand it correctly, Sully's point is not about planning ahead - rather it is that the stores and the media are "diluting" the Christmas season (and thereby it's meaning) by starting it so early, and hyping it so ruthlessly.

I too want to enjoy Christmas - to have those same feelings of joy, wonder and anticipation that I remember from childhood. I can control that in my home, and with Sully's campaign, I can help get the message out into the wider world. That's why I think it's important to participate. :)

Janet said...

I posted mainly because I agreed with Jim's premise - Christmas isn't special if it's thrown about for 3 months. However, like some others, I do buy gifts throughout the year. Just not Christmas decorations or lights and such.
I tried to check out Buzz whatever and only got a picture of a bee.

Peter N said...

Hello have so many friends, deservedly so. Off topic, but what happened to Rooster?? We haven't seen a new post this month over at Rational. And at 2pm today, as you know, the AL MVP will be announced. I think we're all pulling for Pedey.
Have a great Thanksgiving, even though it's still nine days away. I'm glad you're not a turkey...I think. Pete

Peter N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suldog said...

Thimbelle sums it up succinctly.

I have no problem whatsoever with individuals who enjoy shopping early, or who enjoy listening to Christmas music early, or whatever else their individual preferences may be. It is the commercialization of Christmas, to the extent that it is obliterating other less-profit-driven holidays, that bothers me the most.


Ron Newman said...

Hi, Suldog. How do you feel about municipalities putting up Christmas decorations this week, instead of waiting until after Thanksgiving? For example, Boston's Christopher Columbus Park is having a trellis lighting next Monday night, November 24.

Suldog said...

Ron - I saw that my very own Watertown had lit up the trees in Watertown Square last night.

How do I feel about it? I feel it's a waste of taxpayer's money, as well as a shame. What possible reason could a town or city have for lighting stuff up before Thanksgiving? I suppose kickbacks from merchants or something, but that seems a somewhat remote possibility.