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Thanksgiving vs. Christmas

Today was an interesting day.  It was the last day of school before Christmas, and now I have 2 glorious weeks off!  What was interesting was my lack of reaction to having a 2 week break.

At Thanksgiving, I could barely control my excitement!  I wrote this post, and if I had been honest, the entire post would have been in all caps instead of just parts of it!  That’s how excited I was!  I was so excited to have a whole week off of school, and I couldn’t wait to cook and eat and sleep and live it up.

For some reason, I don’t feel the same way about the 2 weeks at Christmas.  All I can figure is that, while I am very happy to be having a break, it hasn’t been that long since Thanksgiving so I don’t feel the need to party.  Also, the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas at school are filled with so much holiday stuff, that I am almost tired of Christmas before it ever happens!  And in general, Christmas is so much more work!  All the decorating, present buying and figuring out how we are celebrating, where we will be and when, and the general mayhem involved just make it a little more stressful.  For Thanksgiving all I have to do is cook.  If I want to decorate I can, but it isn’t a required holiday tradition.

When I lived overseas, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday.  Celebrating this very American/Canadian holiday was one of the highlights of our year.  (I include the Canadians in this because we had Canadian friends who always hosted a Canadian Thanksgiving in October.  So technically we celebrated twice!)  Weeks were spent scouring cooking magazines for recipes to try.  Something about procuring whole turkeys and having friends on the military base give us sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce made the holiday more special.  There were always hoards of people invited to our Thanksgiving celebrations as well, and many of them weren’t from countries that even celebrated Thanksgiving.  It was like a worldwide Thanksgiving celebration!  In 2006 we were back in the states for Thanksgiving, the first one we’d had with family in 5 years, but I missed celebrating with the hodgepodge of friends in Turkey.  I felt like we were missing something important by not being there.

The kids and I moved back to the states the week before Thanksgiving in 2008, and my wasband came back the first week of December.  I was dealing with so much at the time that Thanksgiving overseas wasn’t missed at all that year.  Over the last 5 years, Thanksgiving has definitely looked different.  The celebrants have numbered between 2 and 6, much smaller than the 33 people who celebrated with me in 2007.  But it was good.  And again, I didn’t really miss the overseas celebration.  I think I knew that part of my life was over.  The memories were great, but I had to live in the here and now.

I still love Thanksgiving the best.  I know the story of the first Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition and avoids the horrific crimes committed against the Native Americans by the pilgrims to this country, but for me Thanksgiving has nothing to do with any of them.  I count my blessings and love the quality time with family and friends without all the hype of gifts and decorations.

That can wait till the day after Thanksgiving when people put their lives at risk for a new stuff!  (BTW – I have no desire to ever go Black Friday Shopping.  Just putting that out there!)

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