I am a seasonal kind of girl. I like the rhythm of being in a season and moving into the next season when it is time. So, for me, it is a bit discombobulating when Christmas music is playing just after the school supplies have been purchased. I, for one, will be savoring Thanksgiving.

Now, before you think we can’t be friends because you love Christmas and play Christmas music 24-7, let me reassure you that I also love Christmas and I have a child that plays Christmas music YEAR ROUND. And I love him to bits. I am not going to snow on your Christmas parade – more power to ya!

There was a recent study that shows your Christmas enthusiasm makes you happier than less holiday-enthusiastic folks, and that is uber cool. I love your enthusiasm, so be your best self, my friend. Be your best self. And come Black Friday, I am singing and decorating and holidaying right with ya. I love St. Nick and holiday food and cookie baking and all of the things.

But First…Thanksgiving

For me, being my best self means that I love Thanksgiving, too. And I feel that it gets short shrift in the shadow of its showier, brighter, sparklier December neighbor. I know that red and green (and blue and white and silver and blow up Charlie Brown Carousels on the lawn) can out-twinkle Thanksgiving in a heartbeat. I just like to take a few more weeks to enjoy the more subdued fall colors, focus on thankfulness and time with family without ALL THE GLITTER.

Thanksgiving is harder to be excessive about. I don’t really want it to be excessive, just a meaningful, slower pause before all of the excitement of Christmas sets in. And I think it is important for me to be really thankful for the many things in my life to balance out the crazy fun that Christmas brings to our home. I need the contrast of the quiet before the bustle. It makes the Christmas season more meaningful, just like I enjoy cheesecake so much better when I eat it after dinner for dessert and not for breakfast, lunch and snack time, too. Oof. It’s a moderation thing.

So here are some things that we do:

  • Decorate in fall colors.
  • Eat pumpkin and apple spice everything (thank you very much, Trader Joe’s!)
  • Focus on what we are thankful for through the month.
  • Focus on giving. And thanking.

We have a Thanksgiving playlist.

Beautiful music, like George Winston’s “Autumn.” And there are so many songs that talk about being grateful or thankful or fall – they get lost in the Christmas Playlist shuffle. So I postpone the Christmas music and focus on finding hidden treasures, like Natalie Cole’s “Be Thankful,’” or “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Alison Krauss and YoYo Ma have a rendition of “Simple Gifts” that brings me to tears. The theme song from “Golden Girls” has made my play list, too.

There are so many artists over the years who have written amazing music that can help me to feel thankful, grateful and blessed.

We appreciate this moment.

The beauty of summer fading, the abundance of harvest, and the pause before winter arrives – I don’t like to miss this.

It is a quieter beauty, and less flashy. But oh, it feeds my soul with darkening evenings, crisp fall mornings, and the scuttling fall leaves on the ground. I sip tea, and feel reflective and can take in a deep breath. Just that is something to be thankful for. And I talk with my children about our country’s history – the good and the bad, because we are a nation made up of many stories and many people, and we talk about what we are thankful for now.

I want my children to appreciate the real things we can be grateful for. Friends and family and good health and food to eat and opportunity and more. And to be aware that there are so many who suffer without those things (and more) and that it is our duty and privilege to pay attention and help where we are able. So if you don’t find me fa la la-ing just quite yet, I’ll be there in a little while.

Savoring Thanksgiving