Thanksgiving is over and now the build-up to Christmas is on. I'm never sure if I like this time of year or not.
Thanksgiving for us this year was nice and quiet, if maybe a little too quiet. Rye's cousins couldn't come to the celebration, which was too bad. But the food was good, and the company was, too.
A highlight for me was running that morning on the empty country roads around my in-laws' home. I think that's got to be the purest form of running, the freshest, the simplest, maybe the most rewarding. Alone with nothing but my thoughts, the soft pounding of my feet in the dirt, the wind and the sun -- it's about perfect.
I read about the Black Friday shopping madness yesterday and felt how I do every year on that day: Why in the world do people put themselves through that? I understand the huge deals on big-ticket items that people maybe couldn't afford otherwise, but standing in line to get DVDs for $7.99? Or a down comforter for $40? Saving a little bit of money is simply not worth it to me. Like my friend, Bryan said, it's just stuff, people! Consumerism, sometimes, just makes me feel bad.
That said, Thanksgiving really kicks off the Christmas season and all the fuss that comes with it. The tree, the lights, the decorations, the presents. Do any of us really need anything anymore? My mom and I have talked several times about how really, as adults, when we want something affordable, we just go buy it. We're lucky to be able to do that.
The aftermath of Christmas always makes me feel a little overwhelmed (yet thankful, of course, for the generosity of everyone who has given us gifts) and a little like I need to simplify: Go home and clean out my closet of clothes I haven't worn for more than a year, sort the toys from the playroom that are never touched. I've already told Rye we're going to go through his toys this year and give away the ones he no longer uses. He is lukewarm to this idea. But it matters to me. I want to try and teach selflessness and empathy and the importance of being socially aware. Still, it's tough when toy ads arrive in our newspaper every weekend and a trip to Target usually includes a swing through the toy aisle, even if it's just to look. And then there's that sense that we want our children to have everything they've ever wanted and everything they'll ever dream of.
I'll keep striving to find the right balance, this Christmas and after.