Friday, November 19, 2010

Socially Thankful

Mary Oleksowicz , M. S. , L.Ac.

The holidays are inevitably upon us. The candles are barely extinguished in the jack-o-lanterns when Christmas carols are playing in the stores. For me and many others this is frustrating. I have jokingly pondered if global warming has caused us to lose our sense of holiday timing. Is the declining distinction between seasons part of the reason why it has become acceptable to hang snowflakes before the clocks have even had a chance to “fall back" ? Sadly, the truth is that consumerism has become the driving force of the holidays. “Sale it, and they will buy", was a phrase that I often heard as a teenager working retail.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have mulled over ways to not give into the inevitable grasp of consumerism. Even charitable acts such as creating food baskets for the less fortunate have been preyed upon by major retailers. Bouncy castles and inflated prices for soon to be donated cranberry sauce met me at a local Thanksgiving fundraiser. My stomach was more nauseated by this then an extra slice of pecan pie. For myself, Thanksgiving was inevitably becoming another reason to spend large quantities of money all in the name of a holiday.

That was until the other day. A Facebook friend had posted that she was also sick of the current expectations of Thanksgiving. Over-consumption, Black Friday ads, and inflated gas prices during the biggest travel week of the year had also “cooked her goose" (pun intended)! She was going to take a stand against what Thanksgiving has become, a singular day of the year to pronounce your gratefulness amongst family and friends. Instead, she suggested that we pronounce our thanks, daily in our Facebook status. The rules are simple. Select two things that you are grateful for, big or small, without repeats and state that you are thankful for them.

I found this to be a wonderful exercise. Some friends are grateful for similar experiences and these comments have allowed me to get to know them better. Who would have known that my former first grade teacher was also grateful that her cat greets her in the morning purring despite his recent bout with cancer? Others may be experiencing more difficult times. When things are not as hopeful for them, they have let me know. My cousin had not even told his wife that he had lost his job, when he responded to my post praising my boss. Admittedly, without my post, he would have told no one. While sad, these responses increase my appreciation. Not only for my own blessings but also for the strength and wit of all those I have called friends.

It amazes me that somehow technology has even invaded my indebtedness. I presume as a “techie”, it was unavoidable. However, despite all of the advancements, electronics has brought me back to the roots of this holiday. I think that it is this equilibrium of tradition and innovation, a modern day balance of yin and yang that has allowed me to become socially thankful.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mary ,

Interesting perspective that applies to many of us ! I will be trying this out this week on FB! Thanks for sharing !


Jules said...

Thank you for your thoughts most interesting suggestion. I will be trying out your idea asap on FB. JK

Wade Cameron said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us Mary.... Always looking out for me best interest....

christine said...


kitchendove said...

Sounds like a fabulously easy way to say how thankful we are for those in our lives...

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness said...

Hello everyone ,

Thank you for your responses. I am so happy that my first attempt at blogging has "strummed a common chord" . It has been especially flattering to see how many people have followed the trend. I encourage everyone to continue this trend as we enjoy the holiday season. I think it will be a wondeful stress reducer as well as reminder as to how lucky we all are.

Thank you for your comments!


Anonymous said...

Hi Mary,interesting perspective and i quite agree. With gratitude there is no price tag.

Anonymous said...

Mary, you're wonderful. This was really interesting, and I agree to the fullest!


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