Published 12:00 am Friday, November 24, 2000

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / November 24, 2000

It’s the post-holiday, pre-holiday blues once more. Thanksgiving is over, theleftovers are still crammed in the freezer and Christmas shopping is in full assault.

Early in the morning on the day following Thanksgiving, the bargain shoppers left their homes prior to daybreak to haunt the large retailers, especially the toy stores.

Bleary-eyed, the shoppers blew through the stores, piling up profits for the retailers and adding to their own holiday stress. Smiling store managers leftthe stores Friday afternoon, pleased with their annual accomplishment.

Did anyone notice Thanksgiving in there? It’s a rare nation which sets aside a national holiday unaffilated with any religious or political commemoration.

Most of our holidays are religion-based or in memory of a national leader or our nation’s birthday. Even poor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln,whose birthdays were celebrated in separate holidays, now have been merged into “Presidents Day.” Whoopie.Thanksgiving, though, is something rare and special. It’s a day where all of uscan look around, no matter what our religion, race or culture, and take note of what is good about our lives and what makes those things good, and celebrate them.

It’s tough on many to slam almost seamlessly from Halloween to Christmas, and Thanksgiving almost seems to be swallowed up by these more “marketable” holidays. We don’t exchange wrapped gifts or have specialHalloween-type candy for Thanksgiving. The gifts we celebrate onThanksgiving are those we receive every day.

I’m one of those who doesn’t consider even noticing the approach of Christmas until at least after Thanksgiving. I believe in celebrating oneholiday at a time, and not try and plan two or three holidays in advance. Isuppose that’s why Mardi Gras always seems to slip up on me.

My Christmas shopping list, thanks to my wife, remains small. I start myChristmas shopping in about a week or so, once December starts. By thattime, I know, the premium prices are back and the stores milk me for all they are worth, but I refuse to be sucked into the post-Thanksgiving maelstrom.

I hope every one of my readers took at least a minute during this past Thanksgiving to consider what blessings they do have. They have life. Mosthave family. All should have hope.This will also put us in the proper frame of mind to celebrate Christmas as well.

So try not to get sick with leftovers, go order a pizza or something from time to time, and try not to become stressed over the shopping.

The children will somehow survive if they don’t receive everything they want.

So will you.

Take some time, unwind, and reflect upon the reason for the season.

We’ve already received the greatest gift of all.

LEONARD GRAY is a reporter for L’Observateur.

Copyright © #Thisyear# Wick Communications, Inc.Best viewed with 4.0 or higher