Happy Thanksgiving American readers! We had a Kiwi and 4 Peruvian transplants at our feast yesterday, and it was kind of hilarious to hear people explaining the origin of the holiday and the real meaning. Then my father in law gave a brief and impromptu historical context before the blessing of our meal which was impressive and touching. “Human beings,” he said, “are made to give thanks. It is in our nature, so let us give thanks to nature’s God.”
We forgot to bring the cranberry sauce, so it wasn’t a perfect meal, but nearly so.
Thanksgiving always marks the real beginning of the marathon Christmas season in my own family of origin. My parents have been stretching the yuletide to Candlemass since before liturgical living became cool again, so it was not uncommon to see our house decked from stem to stern from the weekend following Halloween till well into February. Over 9 years of marriage (as of this past week!) I’ve slowly worn Dave down to the point of stringing lights on Black Friday, which I would much rather celebrate with Christmas decor than consumerism.
Far be it from me to begrudge anyone the pursuit of a good deal, but if your idea of a good time is standing in the Best Buy parking lot at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day, I do wonder if you’ve taken time to question your choices in life. (confession: I caved to the destructive pressure of the Amazon algorithm and snagged a little something yesterday. But just one thing! I promise!)
If you are in a shopping mood, might I suggest combining the best of both worlds that are Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday and consider patronizing some of these small shops and ministries before hitting up the big A?
- Blessed is She: Free shipping on all orders over $100. I have and love their academic year liturgical planner, but the calendar year liturgical planner would be a great buy this time of year. I also have their beautiful hand-lettered prayers all over our house.
- Not a crafty mom, so vv grateful to be able to toss this Jesse Tree sticker activity to the wolves next weekend and say that I thought ahead this year. My big boys (6 and 8) love their “Fishing with the Saints” and “Fishing for Bible Characters” card decks, which they mostly use to play Memory with.
- How sweet are these? I honestly want one of each of them. Looks like she’s sold out for now of everything but St. Francis.
- This print of Our Lady is breathtaking. Leaving this link open somewhere for my husband to see…(so maybe don’t buy one until he orders mine)
- Maybe you’re trying to get out of debt this year or get your finances in order. Wallet Win is an online course + community and coaching support to help you hit your goals.
- Catholic Crate has some really adorable Advent mini crates left – looks like they’re sold out of their bigger options, but the minis are more affordable + Black Friday deals (looks like 30% off first crate subscription and free shipping on non subscription orders over $40). The gal behind this goes to our parish and the content is really darling and solid.
- I bought these as our big family present a couple weeks ago when they were on super sale (I got them for under $50 bucks.) So wait till they’re 50% off – apparently it happens frequently. And some reviewers prefer this brand to the OG magnatiles.
That’s all I got for shopping. We’re having a super simple Christmas this year along the lines of “we paid the mortgage kids, you’re welcome!” so we’re keeping presents to one or two per kid plus stockings, and we’re still flying high from our trip to Rome in September where we joked (but not really) that each night out at dinner was celebrating a different event. So Christmas, our anniversary, my birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, check, check, check, we hit them all! Very efficient 😉
This made me tear up. All those holiday feels.
Really thought provoking read. I took on a little penance/fast beginning last week with a friend to kind of free up some whitespace in my brain and in my day. Apparently in the Byzantine rite this period is known as the St. Philip’s fast, and it encompasses the 40 days leading up to Christmas. My own modified fast includes all social media (but I’ll still drop this link on Facebook) and all news aside from our homepage, CNA. I’m also not watching anything during the day or listening to music or talk radio in the car except for the Christian station and, for now, the Christmas station. I’ll buckle down once Advent officially kicks off December 2, but for now I’m binging on all the Bing Crosby and James Taylor.
I have to say, as I do every time I pull back from my media consumption, that I feel AMAZING. What was taken up as a penance has ended up being such a life giving gift, especially this time of year. I’m so much more patient and present with the kids, and honestly a lot happier. I feel less frantic, more grateful, and a whole lot more hopeful about the state of humanity in 2018. And that’s in just a week!
I know social media can be an immense force for good and for authentic community, but it is not without its significant problems. And I think the dangers and downsides are more significant for certain personalities than others.
We had two back-to-back suicides at our neighborhood high school this fall. Our neighbor is a principal there and explained they don’t allow the kids to memorialize the deceased or hold any kind of vigils because the behavior has become so contagious. Chills to the bottom of my soul, y’all. But it’s true, the attention and the outpouring of sorrow and the temporary fame is literally an enticement for struggling adolescents, a temptation to suicide. And it’s not necessarily the kids you’d expect. These two local deaths for example? Attractive kids, well liked, athletically and academically accomplished, and no history of depression.
Talk to your kids. Keep them off social media, grounded in family life, and focused on something bigger and wider than their own experience. The human soul was made to stretch towards the infinite. Our materialist culture (and I don’t just mean that in the consumerist application) cannot satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart.
What frightens me the most about this is the lack of public outcry and, indeed, the hailing of this as a positive advancement in reproductive and genetic technology. I wonder if inviting people to consider the negative ramifications of GMO food would spark an intelligent debate?
Hey, enough negativity, Jenny!
Gosh, you’ve probably got a cold dish of stuffing in the fridge calling your name, and I’m keeping you from it. Me? I’m back on the keto bandwagon this morning after a late night incident with said contraband, and I couldn’t be happier that I a. Allowed myself to eat normal thanksgiving food yesterday and b. Have something pleasant and effective to go back to now. No holiday slide for me this year. As fun as it was to eat carbs yesterday, I felt awful by bedtime and woke up shaky with low blood sugar. Not worth it. (Well, except for the stuffing. That was worth it.)
Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you and yours!