Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Bonus

I’ve always thought of December 1st as the official start of the Christmas rush. The trouble is, the first of December follows closely on the heels of the Thanksgiving rush—you know, that frenzied week of shopping/cleaning/cooking/baking/dishes where you’re wondering, what happened to the actual Thanksgiving celebration? Caught up in the busy-ness of family and food, a lot of folks end up with little opportunity to enjoy the feast, much less give thanks.

If Thanksgiving comes early, like it did this year, merchants are all for it—an extra week for people to do Christmas shopping! But I see this year’s post-Thanksgiving week as a bonus for the holiday season…there’s a little break in the action for sitting back, eating some chocolate, fitting in an extra holiday movie, and maybe making plans for a more generous and thoughtful celebration.

Six years ago, our first holiday season at Berryridge Farm, an early Thanksgiving provided the same kind of holiday bonus week. But that time couldn’t have been more different from any we’d ever experienced. A series of unfortunate events, for which John and I were ill-prepared, knocked us sideways. We wondered if we were going to make it through that week…and more crucial, if we had what it takes to stay on our little homestead for the long term. We spent the Christmas that followed being grateful for the simplest things: our health, the roof over our heads, and each other.

In this year’s holiday bonus week, I’m happy the upsets that happened over this Thanksgiving weekend were so minor…like discovering the local, organic cream I’d splurged on for the pies was slightly “off,” or waking up the next morning to find the bunnies had gotten into my wintering-over kale bed and devoured nearly every last leaf. The cream got an extra spoonful of sugar to offset the tang, and the kale gained a more philosophical grower…when I reminded myself that our food supply is much more secure than the rabbits'.
And in this holiday breather time, I’m doing just what the doctor (me) ordered. Eating chocolate, contemplating not just more ways we can share with those less fortunate, but the true meaning of the season… and being grateful.