The Star-News


Just another day

Sat, Nov 20 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

We're less than a week away from the hullabaloo of the holidays - though there are some people out there who have already begun hanging their Christmas lights and decorating their homes with holly and pine.

A friend of mine used to become amusingly apoplectic when I told him I hung Christmas lights on my mother's house every Thanksgiving.

I guess they do things differently back East, where White Christmas is more than just the name of a song.

"Christmas lights don't go up until December and you're not supposed to get a tree until a couple of days before Christmas," he scolded.

"Dude, things are different in California," I told him. "So shut up and help me hang these lights on my mom's palm trees."

Of course, now that my buddy is a new dad, I wonder if he'll stand by the rules of East Coast tradition, or if he'll succumb to the urge of prolonging the holidays' festive nature in an effort to bask in them with his kids. I hear parenthood has a way of shifting priorities.

But some priorities are hard to shift.

Regardless of the hassle, he'll make it back to the other coast so that he and his growing family can spend Thanksgiving with his enormous family and the in-laws.

For him, Thanksgiving is about a gaggle of relatives gathered in the family room and trying their best to get along and enjoy each other's company.

For others, Thanksgiving is about one day a year when they can do something nice for the homeless and work at a food bank or homeless shelter.

Still others see it as the day before the biggest shopping day of the year - the precursor to the time they can buy things they can't afford to give away to people who don't really need them.

For me, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the mad dash to the end of another year, where people over a certain age can scratch their head and wonder out loud, "It's Christmas already?" Where the pressure to live up to the fantasies and illusions of marketers and greeting card creators collides with the reality of family and friends who are less than perfect but still perfectly loveable; where I get to sleep in, putter around for a bit, then fall asleep watching the "Twilight Zone" marathon, wondering how people are celebrating Thanksgiving in England.

But mostly, Thanksgiving is just one more day. And that's plenty for which to be grateful.


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