Thanksgiving is gone. I can finally decorate (paper snowflakes are already in the windows) and listen to holiday tunes, but only sometimes if B is around.
My Dad preached a thoughtful advent sermon on Sunday, which made me remember the Advent Sundays when I was a kid. I hated it (sorry, Dad).
I hated the waiting. I was always excited for Thanksgiving, but after Thanksgiving I realized there was still an entire month before Christmas Day. Pure torture. One year I made myself so excited for Christmas (age 4) that I got sick on the day of, and was so weak my parents had to help me open my presents. Not cool.
A lot of people have this reaction to the holiday season:
Honestly, I don't blame them. With Black Friday 'officially' kicking off the Christmas season, stores opening at midnight, commercials with crazy-thin looking women working out extra hard to beat the crowds at the sales, and stories of people being shot, punched, and peppersprayed (c'mon guys, this isn't #OWS), its easy to get stressed out.
Today is 'cyber Monday', coined after online retailers noticed a spike in sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. So of course all my groupon and Rue La La emails are dedicated to holiday gifts. Which also has the potential to turn a busy Monday back at the office into a buying free-for-all.
But as an adult, I find I enjoy the Christmas Season more than the actual holiday itself. I love Christmas shopping. I love Holiday cups at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. I love listening to the Christmas music on Pandora at work. I love being able to say "Merry Christams" and "Happy Holidays" to people.
You would wonder about this, especially if you knew how long I have spent in retail. But small shops are different than the Targets and Best Buys of Black Friday Lore. Small shops are friendlier, warmer, and all-in-all, more helpful than the big box stores. You get personal attention and a person who really cares about finding the perfect gift with you.
Slow down, friends. Take a few moments to relax and remember that Christmas is about Advent. Its about the excitement of an upcoming holiday, as much as the holiday itself. Go from the stressed-out image to this: