When I opened the newspaper this morning, I was greeted by an ad that announced “Christmas has arrived!”
“Baloney!” I murmured to myself remembering the shower of golden leaves that had greeted me when delivering gift baskets on the NAU campus earlier in the week. I glanced at the date, thinking I was in some kind of time warp. Nope. The paper was dated November 2nd.
Even in the midst of the virus pandemic, ghosts and goblins stood on my doorstep with bags waiting to be filled with candy only a few days ago. There are still weeks until Thanksgiving — followed by 24 days of December — before anyone can truthfully say, “Christmas has arrived!”
It seems to arrive earlier each year. No longer do the ads, the displays, and the trimmings wait until the day after Thanksgiving to proclaim the magical season. I can almost hear you now as you read this: “Are you some kind of Scrooge! Don’t you know that the stores depend on us? Are you saying that we shouldn’t be buying Christmas presents?”
Not at all. I’m in the gifting business. I, too, understand that many retailers have to make their profits during the last quarter of the year if they are to survive. But the commercialism of Christmas frequently tarnishes the magic.
Where is the Magic?
Let me back up a bit and explain what I’m trying to say. The year 2020 has been a year of lessons for me. When you reach my age, which, by the way, make me eligible for Medicare over ten years ago, you are a little more open to learning from experience that when you’re still under 39. Some people call it “old age stubbornness.” Others refer to it as wisdom.
It has been a good year. My company has been busy all year, filling orders to be shipped all over the country. The lesson that I’ve learned over and over in the 28 years that I’ve been in business is that working hard, being patient, and sticking to your dream for a number of years can result in realization of that dream.
But, there have been other lessons learned as well.
I’ve learned that you never know what tomorrow will bring. As the familiar clique says, “don’t forget to take time to smell the roses.” And I’m doing exactly that. My customers will never know. They’ll still get the same quality service with the same quality products that they have always received.
But today, I joined my husband and Grayson the three-legged Poodle- Caren Terrier mix, on a long walk in the national forest behind our house. The nip in the air and the falling leaves were just another reminder that the year is almost over but there is still much to be enjoyed and savored.
Just because we are in the middle of the pandemic and cover our faces with masks, that doesn’t mean that the magic of the holiday season can’t be enjoyed throughout the year. We don’t need an announcement that Christmas has arrived and it’s time to start shopping. I see the magic on a mother’s face when I deliver a gift from her faraway son. Or in the eyes of an excited four-year-old when an Easter basket arrives.
You see, I’m not just in the gift business. I’m in the business of creating memories and magic.
Create Your Own Holiday Magic
I’m encouraging you to not get so wrapped up into the fast-paced commercial-based “gotta rush. . .gotta buy a present” mentality that you don’t have the time to really enjoy the magic of this holiday season. Take each day as it comes. If shopping early gives you that extra time, by all means do it. If you haven’t created your own family traditions, this year is the time to do it. Don’t forget that Thanksgiving is a special day as well. It’s a time to give thanks and to enjoy those that are important to you. Don’t just rush out on the day after Turkey day to get “all your shopping done as quickly as possible.”
Choosing a gift can be as important as the gift itself
Think about the person the gift is for and the reason you are giving that gift. What do they like and enjoy? What would mean more to them than anything you can give. Many times, the gift of self and time can be more important than any gift you can buy.
In the media buildup to Christmas, we oftentimes tend to forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas. If the gift is for a customer that you want to thank for their business, perhaps Thanksgiving is a much more preferable time to say “Thank You!” The magic of giving can be shared with a fire fighter, a police officer, doctor, nurse, or any other hero in your life at any time during the year.
Even shopping can be an experience that is not to be dreaded. The local craft shows offer an endless variety of unique and different gift ideas and they’re fun to attend, too! And don’t forget the locally owned stores. They provide the character that makes your town and my town of Flagstaff, Arizona unique. Without them, our town would just be another Phoenix or San Jose. Check out the article “The Little Shop That Went Away” for a different perspective on holiday shopping and then discover the stores that make your town special.
No, Christmas has NOT arrived. The magic of the season and the time to show your appreciation and love in the form of gifts can be experienced all year long. Take time to savor the delights, enjoy those you care about, and the magic will be yours.