Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving, getting and giving thanks

We had a great Thanksgiving.  It was the rare event when two families collided (mine and my husband's) in a truly harmonious manner.  My parents were kind enough to host us ALL... the seven residents of the "Lyons Den"(eight if you count Finnegan, our 90-lb. lab!), my sister with her husband, toddler and newborn, my brother with his girlfriend, my grandparents and my two sister-in-laws with their families.  It had all the ingredients for the fireworks of family events past but, this year, the sparks weren't flying.  We've been through a lot in the past few years and I think we all had a new-found appreciation for how lucky we are, how important family is and how essential it is to pause and give thanks.

In the afterglow of our spectacular feast, the ultimate buzz kill was the omnipresent urges to "Buy now!", "Save 40%!", "Start early!"  I've never been a big fan of Black Friday.  In fact, the idea of spending a gorgeous fall day in a mall goes against my every grain; I'd much rather play outside with the kids, walk the dog or go for a run or family adventure.  Malls in general are just not my thing.  I suppose that's why I do a lot of online shopping but even so, I can't get caught up in the Cyber Monday hype for a few reasons.  For starters, I have a job to do and it doesn't include the free time to make my list, check it twice and check out numerous online retailers offering their deal of the day.  When the work day is done, the job that matters most begins -- tomorrow night I will be making dinner, reading stories, folding laundry, and wrapping birthday presents for my little fella who turns seven on Tuesday.

As much as I enjoy a good deal, I just don't have the time (or money!) to participate in shopping as a sport.  And, being a bit of an idealist (in case you hadn't noticed!), I'd rather focus on the "Thanks" and the "Giving" for the entire holiday season rather than on just one Thursday.  The notion of "giving" seems to have been replaced by the ambition of "getting" -- getting a deal, getting more, getting up early for the super-saver discounts, getting, getting, getting.  

I admit it, I love to get as much as I live to give.  I love finding the perfect gift for my sister, my mom, my husband, my kids.  But, as Thanksgiving demonstrated once again, sometimes the best gift of all is time spent together.  And that's something I'm going to put on my list this holiday season. 

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