Holiday Anticipation

“The way my family anticipates Christmas feels different from the way we look forward to almost anything else. For other things, we’re excited about learning, seeing, or exploring something new. But Christmas is different. We look forward to it all year. We count down the days, just to experience it nearly exactly as we always have.” Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Journal, Issue 9~

Every year, the stores seem to decorate earlier. Santa arrives earlier. Online shopping decreased the hustle and bustle–at least in public. The early decorating seems to be a quest to set the mood–to draw buyers into stores.

Last year, the stores in my locale weren’t crowded. I shopped in the traditional way–but without the crowds. 

It was great. But I wonder if online shoppers felt like they were missing something–if something about their Christmas experience seemed incomplete. 

Last week–one week before Thanksgiving–we received 10.6 inches of snow. 

Thursday and Friday were snow days–closed schools with some businesses following suit. People stayed home and stayed inside except to clear their sidewalks and driveways. Those who had to went to work on Friday. But anyone who could did not venture far. 

Saturday was different. On Saturday, the snow had done its magic and there I was digging out Christmas music and lighting a balsalm fir candle. 

Then I went shopping (after extinguishing the candle) to discover the crowds had returned. Lines weren’t too bad. But traffic was heav.

The snow (and perhaps some early retail discounts) called us back to a time when shopping was an adventure requiring movement, planning, navigation, and socialization.  

The forecaster I married assures me the snow will be gone before Thursday and may not return for Christmas.

No matter. The weather has evoked memories of white days and glowing trees in years past. We are drawn to the season of peace–a respite from the world of bitter politics and bad news.

We anticipate, count the days, and wait. We work, buying, wrapping, cleaning, decorating, cooking, and baking to relive and recreate a day to carry with us through the year.

Our lives are threads tying generations together. Holidays are exclamations.

Proclaim God’s goodness. Happy Thanksgiving. 

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25 Replies to “Holiday Anticipation”

  1. Hi Nancy. I too enjoy Christmas like no other season. The weather has been inconsistent in California and Nevada thesepast several years and we have seem much less snow.nonetheless, we have enjoyed a white Christmas every year since the day we found a hideaway in the mountains. Such wonderful, different times for our family. Special times. And the most special being our celebration of our blessed Savior. Thank you for this post.

  2. This post has me thinking. I am one of those online shoppers. I’ve never liked shopping. But you’re right. Being able to push a couple buttons and it’s here in two days does cause the time to almost be shorter. I am being intentional this year about filling that space with other things like going downtown Cincinnati and participating in the German Christmas festival. I know they will have some craft booths set up and I’m looking forward to some purchases. I also ended up buying a few items last year from a small shop downtown and nothing beats the feeling of walking down a crowded sidewalk, going into a small business, and making a thoughtful purchase. Thank you for your perspective.

  3. My husband and I notice holiday decorations are up earlier each year. I don’t mind because I enjoy seeing all the beautiful sights. Remembering the true meaning of the season gives us the opportunity to thank God for all His blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I also love Christmas. For the past few years, I’ve decorated for Christmas one or two weeks before Thanksgiving. It’s just so much less stressful for me and for my family. Plus, a lot of work goes into the decorating that it’s nice to have it up longer to enjoy. It has been strange to see short lines for Black Friday because of online shopping. Stores seem to offer fewer deals on that day unless you shop online, so I’ve switched. And it’s so convenient and, again, less stressful. But do I miss the hussle and bustle? Yes, sometimes. (sigh) But I’m already over it. (lol) I am looking forward to time with my immediate and extended family as well as friends this Christmas season. It’s still the best time of the year.

    1. Thanks, Annaliese. I try to minimize online shopping to keep the stores in business and the employees employed. But it is the wave of the future. Enjoy your family time. God bless!

  5. Hey Nancy,

    Enjoyed this post. Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to mix and mingle more and more with each passing year. I remember when I was growing up, the lines of demarcation were clear. While someone may have shopped for Christmas before the grateful holiday, decorations other than turkeys and pilgrims were almost taboo.

    I have ordered Christmas presents online and shopped for a few in person. But I never decorate with trees and such until the weekend after Thanksgiving. To each his own, but that’s how I like it.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. When I was young, I wasn’t allowed to put up decorations until after my mother’s birthday–December 14! Our tree doesn’t go up until some time in December. But it’s a real tree that sits next to the woodstove–so that’s just common sense.

      In the olden, olden days, people put their trees up a day or two before Christmas. And all came down around New Years. I think we need the decorations earlier. We find hope in them because we find the world so dark today. Thanks for commenting. God bless!

  6. Nancy, you are so right that people are turning to on-line shopping and the adverts and decorations seem to go up earlier every year. Things seem to becoming more about spending and speed and efficiency of shopping. And I have always thought it sad that it becomes more commercialized. But you also reference when shopping was a community, social event. Where people saw friends or neighbours and connected. It was always a special event to go Christmas shopping and bump into people you knew and peer in the department store windows at the way they had them decorated. I wonder what type of memories we are leaving our children and grandchildren now, because as you write, “we relive and recreate a day to carry with us through the year.
    Our lives are threads tying generations together. Holidays are exclamations.” Thanks for your post!

    1. So true, Anne. I remember shopping with my mother and having to get dressed up to go downtown. I had a purse and wore a dress and gloves just to shop. It was an experience. Thanks for your gracious comment. God bless!

  7. How I feel about Christmas changes over the years. We are in a phase of feeling excitement over Christmas again because of our grandchildren. But no matter how I feel, I remember it is the day of my Savior’s birth and I always celebrate that fact.

    1. Absolutely, Yvonne! The day of our Savior’s birth! And grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) make the day magical once more. Thanks for reading and commenting. God bless!

  8. Hi Nancy! I love Christmas, too. But 10 inches of snow? Girl, that is a LOT. I live in Wisconsin, so we usually get a White Christmas, but there are days when I miss the days of growing up in Southern California where we went to the beach sometimes during Christmas. Sandy toes were a thing there, but not here! Ha ha ha…. blessings to you this holiday season.

    1. Absolutely, Peggy! It’s about making memories and emphasizing what’s important. When we sit around the table together tomorrow, each of us will say three things we are thankful for. It’s become such a rich tradition. One of the grandkids told me last week, he’s been pondering what he will say when the moment comes. So neat to see him considering it an important moment. Almost like a bit of Holy Communion. Thanks and God bless!

  9. Thank you for for this phrase in particular

    Our lives are threads tying generations together. Holidays are exclamations!

    I often approach the holidays with two conflicting emotions- Joy and Fear. Your phrase is helpful in shifting the balance toward joy

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