I’m fortunate to have a group of friends that have remained through various seasons of life. We’ve lived life together, survived Covid, and maintained friendship through each other’s various highs and lows. Over the years we’ve come to have an annual debate about the appropriate time to put up Christmas decorations. In general, the ladies of the group try to push the season forward, and the guys hold to the start of the season being the day following Thanksgiving. We like to send meme’s chiding each other, with my personal favorite being the meme above. This year, my gorgeous best friend (and wife) is planning on decorating our house a full week and a half before Thanksgiving. Normally, I would push back against this type of blasphemy but this year I see it in a new way, and that’s the subject of this week’s thoughts on Christmas decorating.
Let me start by saying that I love the Christmas season. It’s a season in which we celebrate the birth of my Savior Jesus. It’s a season filled with beautiful lights and decorations, times with family and friends, and the opportunity to bless others with gifts (I LOVE giving gifts). I love the way people become more generous and pitch in to help others. Case in point, I love how our team at Ag Partners Cooperative, Inc pitch in to bless unknowing families. Last year the team gave $6,500 to bless 3 families with an extraordinary Christmas and I’m confident it will be even bigger this year. (Side note – you don’t have to work for Ag Partners to get involved. Let me know if you’d like to donate, OR even better, if you’d like to do something similar in your business, send me a note and I’ll tell you how we do it.) There are cookies and caroling, and delightful holiday parties. I mean, what’s not to love? I also like how Michelle decorates our house. She fills our home with precisely placed decorations that make it suitable to host a scene in a holiday movie special. BUT… I also like Thanksgiving. I love the food, family gatherings, afternoon nap, and football that comes with the day. That’s why I’ve always pushed back against starting the Christmas season before Thanksgiving. This year however, I’ve had a new revelation. Joy in one season doesn’t take away from joy in the other.
Starting the joyous Christmas season a week before Thanksgiving doesn’t lessen the joy of turkey and football unless the décor blocks the remote sensor making hard to switch the TV between games (that’s happened before). The more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s something we need to remember in a lot of situations. If it’s not at another person’s expense, one person’s joy in a situation doesn’t impact ours, EVEN if we don’t agree.
I’ve gone back and forth about providing examples of this and I’m going to forgo that option. The truth is that giving examples would undoubtedly offend someone and result in the exact opposite of the point I’m trying to get across. I’ll leave it at this. We all think differently, we all come from different backgrounds, and we all have different goals.
That leads me to this week’s challenge… embrace joy! Watch less news and spend more time celebrating the good with the people that matter most to you. Listening to how the day of your spouse, children, or friend went and being engaged in life together is the most important “news” you’ll hear. Celebrate a coworker’s idea, even if that was an idea chosen over yours. Joy is contagious, both for you and for others. If you’re in a down season, surround yourself with people in a different one. Their joy and enthusiasm will change your outlook. Conversely, if you have a friend that struggling, be the light that brightens their outlook. We all tend to compete, but life is not a competition, so celebrate each other with joy. Finally, go ahead a put that tree up a little early. It won’t ruin Thanksgiving.