Halloween has passed, November has begun, and the world is queuing up for the holiday of feasting. Across America, the last Thursday of November will most likely be spent with family, good food, and sharing all that we are thankful for, while Friday November 27th will be filled with long lines, bold price tags exclaiming markdowns, and money spent on everything from flat screen TVs to onesies. It’s a dramatic juxtaposition. There is an extremely different mindset on these two separate days, though they are so close to each other. It leads me to wonder if the problem is not consumerism but thankful-ism.
During the holiday season, it is easy to exhibit thankfulness towards others. First, there is an entire holiday devoted to acknowledging what we are thankful for. Second, it is very easy to be thankful during the holiday season when there are people buying you gifts and baking you little Christmas tree cookies with green frosting. I wish this season did not bring about thankfulness for a short period of time, but instead brought the realization of the power of being thankful.
And not just thankful to those who have something to give us, but those who have nothing to give us.
Like the person who is bagging your groceries for your holiday feast. Do you acknowledge them, ask them how they are, and receive your bags with a solid “thank you,” looking them in the eye? What about the cleaning crew at your office? How often, when you pass a janitor taking out the trash, do you let the person know they are seen and appreciated?
I work in food services and find the people who I remember most are those who order and receive their drink with thankfulness and grace. I do not remember the person who orders and throws a thank you over their shoulder as they walk away, but I do remember the person who asks me how my day is going and looks me in the eye when they say “thank you.” It is not required of a patron to do this, but it makes an impact on me as a worker when they do. It brightens my day.
If we used this season to cultivate a posture of thankfulness, instead of just a season of thankfulness, there would be a change in our attitudes. I think our joyful attitudes during the holidays are largely in part due to the fact we are giving to others and doing things to help others. If we continued this attitude all year long, imagine the joy we would find in everyday life! To live in a posture of thankfulness is for more than just a season.