Christmas music and decorating was taboo until Thanksgiving night when suddenly stores were transformed into fake snow covered windows looking in on worlds of spice and gingerbread cookies, Lionel train sets, Flexible Flyer sleds, and the dreaded Daisy Sure Shot B-B Gun. ("You're gonna shoot your eye out, Ralphie.") Christmas trees were never put up before the turkey gobbled his last and each of the holidays was celebrated on its own. There were no Santa's in shops on November 3rd. Santa would not and could not make an appearance until Thanksgiving afternoon when Macy's would bring him onto the scene at the end of their gala Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Television stations would have never thought to have shown It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or Holiday Inn before the season was upon us. We always waited to see if the Bing Crosby family had added another member or what Bob Hope was doing to entertain the troops with his USO tours. Christmas family specials were fun to watch and entertaining.
What happened? When did the holidays merge to the point that one is considered a major food fest and the other so loaded with crass commercialism that shopping no longer seems much fun?? I do remember that while living in England, Christmas seemed more the treat it had been for me as a child. Decorating was reserved for late November and the first of December and these were NOT people who celebrated Thanksgiving but simply meant to keep the holiday as it should be kept.
And recently I have noticed the tendency of some churches to be closed on Christmas because attendance is down. What?!? WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Who's the rocket scientist that came up with that one?? Let the church ladies guild go on their annual shopping trip to Gatlinburg or to Milwaukee or Copper Hill but Christmas is canceled due to lack of participation. Ridiculous!!
I, for one, am proud to say I had family who attended that first Thanksgiving and who have held with many of the same traditions for years. There will be no tree at our Thanksgiving dinner. I am also glad to say that I come from and am still a part of a family that believes that Christmas should be kept as Christmas. We will carry on years of tradition when we decorate a tree and share simple gifts, enjoy a meal together, and remember whose birthday we celebrate.