I don't know about you, but I just can't get ready for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Retailers, on the other hand, seem to be chomping at the bit to swing a profit on Christmas trees and stocking stuffers by early October. I'm sure it's about the money - as everything seems to be these days - but I just don't understand it.
It seems like stores stock up on Christmas items earlier and earlier every year, but this year seems particularly strange due to the lack of snow. Isn't it weird reading about power outages and school cancelations out east while people in the Copper Country are still mowing their lawns? It certainly makes me thankful for every hour of nice weather we get before the snow flies - which brings me to my biggest gripe about the early focus on Christmas: Overlooking Thanksgiving.
I understand it's pretty hard for retailers to make a profit on a holiday that essentially celebrates contentment, but I wish there was a way to bring more attention to an occasion that - but for Lions/Cowboys football and tons of turkey - would be relegated to just an average day on the calendar.
A big reason I enjoy writing these columns is because it helps hold me accountable and gets me thinking as much as I hope it gets you thinking. I suppose it's easy for all of us to slip into materialism when we're being pummeled by constant advertisements saying, "Your life will be incomplete without (insert thing you'll be just fine without here)."
It's a crazy society we live in, and it seems like distractions abound more than ever. Which celebrity is getting divorced now? What did that famous athlete tweet? Who did that presidential candidate talk dirty to 20 years ago?
Anyways, before Christmas season gets going full steam, I just wanted to take a little time to reflect on some things I'm thankful for in recognition of "that other holiday" coming up.
First of all, I want to thank you. Yes, you. Readers of my columns and articles have played a huge role in my development as a young journalist. As any writer likely has, I've received the full range of feedback on my work, from glowing reviews to nasty emails. The former keep me going, the latter keep me humble - all keep me working hard.
I'm so thankful for my job. If variety is the spice of life, I'll be a well-seasoned journalist before long. I get to unearth news and report the facts. I get paid to watch sports and interact with players and coaches - I still have to slap myself sometimes to make sure it's not a dream. On top of it all, once a month I get to let you inside my mind through this column - scary thought, I know.
I would be remiss to forget mentioning how thankful I am for my wonderful wife, family, friends and God. You'll all receive more personal recognition of my gratitude, but I need to publicly express just how much you mean to me: a lot more than words can tell.
Alright, enough of the sappy stuff. In any case, I'd just like to wrap up by reminding us all - myself included - to not see Thanksgiving or the weeks leading up to it as "Christmas: part 1," but as a needed time to pause and be thankful for what really makes life worth living.
Stephen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.