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What a difference six days can make during the holidays

By June Mathews

In case you failed to notice, amidst the massive amounts of food and subsequent frenzy of shopping that didn’t even wait for Black Friday to begin, Thanksgiving came on the last possible day it could occur this year. Since Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday, and the last two days of November were the fifth Friday and Saturday, we were down to the wire when Turkey Day finally rolled around.

Personally, I like Thanksgiving coming later in the month. When it fell on Nov. 22 last year – the earliest day it can happen – I felt like the holiday season dragged on forever.  It meant six more days to deal with the tangle of holiday traffic; six more days to chow down on all manner of Christmas cookies, cheeseballs and those marvelous little mayonnaise-slathered ham biscuits; six more days of buying “one last gift” to ensure that anybody who might conceivably buy a gift for me got one in return.

Just six more days for getting into trouble, if you ask me.

By the time the over-long season ended last year, my blood pressure had risen due to suppressed road rage, I was five pounds heavier from an extra week of grazing every buffet table in sight (OK, so that might have contributed to the blood pressure issue, too), and my bank account had just enough of a balance remaining to cover the monthly service fee. According to the list of transactions on my debit card, I bought that “one last gift” seven times.

Having the maximum number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas is obviously good for neither my physical nor my financial health. Besides, I’m one of those people who function most efficiently under pressure, and if I have too much time to mull things over instead of forging ahead and getting them done, I lose focus.

I can only imagine the sorry shape I’d be in by the end of the year if I were one of those people who sing Christmas carols in July and begin digging out the pre-lit trees and garland sometime around Labor Day. The early start would allow me way too much leeway for accomplishing holiday tasks, and I’d ultimately be dithering around like a nervous pig at a weenie roast.

Now I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge, and it’s certainly not that I think setting aside days for special observances is a bad idea. I just wish we could limit the holidays to, well, the holidays, and the shorter the season, the better. You’ve heard of “too much of a good thing”? In my book, that goes for the holiday season, too.

I also wish all the hurry-up-and-spend retailers would slow down a bit and let us finish Thanksgiving before commencing with Christmas. I laughed out loud (LOL’d for you lovers of acronyms) at a cartoon I saw on Facebook last week depicting a gang of turkeys shooing Santa back toward the North Pole and telling him to wait his turn. I wanted to give those turkeys a round of applause.

Each year, Thanksgiving gets shorter shrift as the Zombie Black Friday Shopper mentality invades our collective consciousness earlier and earlier in November. Next thing we know, the so-called after-Thanksgiving sales will be starting in October.

And as long as I’m wishing, I might as well throw this one in: I wish Thanksgiving could revert to being all about giving thanks, and Christmas could be more about celebrating the birth of a Savior and less about the latest toys and video games.

Yeah, I know. Ridding ourselves of the distractions of the holidays is a tall order, but getting back to the basics would give us a chance to hone in on things that really matter. Then six extra days or not, the season might be a whole lot less stressful for everybody.

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