If you are reading this over a second cup of coffee, I say good for you and we all need more quiet moments. They are more precious than gold.

Today begins the season of paradox.

If you are reading this over a second cup of coffee, I say good for you and we all need more quiet moments. They are more precious than gold.

But I also would suggest this fact means someone who is not you is likely the one designated to stuff the bird, peel the potatoes and straighten the furniture before the relatives arrive. He or she is on cup No. 3 just to keep going. OK, perhaps you were the one dispatched to Costco yesterday to buy that three-foot-wide pecan pie. We all do what we can.

We get all virtuous for Thanksgiving, doing more cooking – yes, honest-to-goodness cooking – in one day than we might otherwise do in a month. And the goal? Get everyone to sit, hold hands for a moment of prayer, and then dig in and just be together.

But it passes so quickly. The dishes await, football and a dozen other sports are on TV, and the Christmas tree has to go up. Christmas wish lists are exchanged, and suddenly we realize Thanksgiving is slipping away so you-know-what is next. We don’t even pretend that normal life resumes on Friday and the run-up to Christmas can wait a few days. No, the imperative to spend and spend and find The Perfect Gift for persons A through Q is right in our faces.

Outside the grocery store, a volunteer Santa is already ringing for those in need, and need never goes away. The church choir practices extra late on Wednesday night because its five-song Christmas Eve extravaganza is one month – one month, friends – from today. And the 7-year-old informs you at 8 p.m. Sunday that she has to be dressed as an angel – wings and halo please, harp optional – for the school celebration tomorrow. Can we run to the store?

It is the season of hopelessly long to-do lists, the season of spending, the season of stress. Heck, some kind souls still find the time to mix flour, sugar, egg and vanilla to crank out Christmas cookies by the dozen. Bless them.

Aren’t we supposed to be enjoying ourselves? Aren’t we supposed to be reflecting on the larger, truer meaning of the season? I say pause for the second cup of coffee and a moment’s peace.


Turkey, yes. Big Mac, no.

I’ve gotten quite a bit of response – mostly amens – to last week’s rant about the self-evident non-need for Thanksgiving Day shopping. Glad to know it’s not just me.

I would lay out the known list of offending retailers, but it’s reasonable to assume they would just consider it free advertising. In an age without a sense of shame, there is no difference between notoriety and acclaim. It’s the logical, cynical result of the “just spell my name right” school of marketing.