What do Thanksgiving and a dance recital have in common? Maybe more than one might initially think. Both require a good deal of preparation. That perfectly browned turkey had to be chosen at a local supermarket, paid for, brought home, thawed, basted, stuffed, put in a bag, basted, timed, watched over, carved and served. Hours have been spent by someone making sure that bird is just right. In like manner hours are spent prior to a show getting the stage set just right. Load ins of sound equipment, lighting equipment, electrical cords, computers, scenery, sound checks, clean floors, scaffolding, and safety checks require a crew of workers. Many people have worked all day making sure the stage is properly set for the dancers. Setting the stage, so to speak can apply to a turkey, a dance recital, and even the holidays.
Not taking anything away from Thanksgiving, I like to approach Thanksgiving as “setting the stage” for Christmas. It occurs to me that if I spend November intentionally concentrating on what I have to be thankful for it helps me to balance out some of my consumer temptations at Christmas. And we all know that as soon as the last bit of turkey is stored safely in the fridge in the Tupperware container Christmas shopping has officially begun! Don’t get me wrong, I love presents as much as the next person. I am not a grinch. But there is a saying that sticks in my mind, and I find it to be true……… with gratitude, everything I have becomes enough.
So, how do I set the stage for the Christmas season? I try not to miss Thanksgiving. I try to count my
blessings around my table or wherever I find myself on that special day. My family is not large but my nine are more than enough to warm my heart. I try to focus on being creative with my table or
complimenting my hostess if I am elsewhere. I try to listen to what people are saying and more
importantly what they seem to be feeling. I try to remember the legacy of freedoms that I have enjoyed throughout my life. I think about the legacies left to me by my parents and loved ones who are not with me anymore. I try to think of ways to serve the folks I am with at the time. Tiring, yes! But I know that when the holiday stage is being set the result will be something special.
A final humorous, yet practical thought comes to me. I have often thought that cleaning out closets
would be a great way to set the stage for Christmas. I have sworn over and over that I would never buy another pair of shoes after cleaning out my closets. Bet you have felt the same way! So, my point is this…if I “set the stage” in November with gratitude, I may be more likely to approach Christmas in much the same way. Think of the possibilities; less shopping with more purpose, fewer returns, fewer shoes, less hurry, less stress, less disappointment, time for conversation, time for listening, time for rest, and time for deeper reflections. Some call this contentment.
Setting the stage for holidays can be fun, creative, and very meaningful. Wishing you the very best as a special day and a special season draws near.
With gratitude for each of you,