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Time for Moore: Being present is the best present you can give

Playing Christmas tunes prior to Thanksgiving is like buying a first-anniversary card for a couple on their wedding day.

Jane Turpin Moore mug

Two days before Thanksgiving, I walked into KwikTrip to pay for gas and pick up milk and a banana or two.

A joyous instrumental version of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” was reverberating throughout the convenience store at top volume; I appreciated its classical flair and skillful symphonic arrangement.

Nevertheless, the sound was jarring. Turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie had yet to be gobbled in our household. We hadn’t taken turns expressing our thoughts of gratitude around the table. My front porch was still festooned with a rustic basket, gourds and an orange-tinged wreath.

Whatever happened to “…raise the song of harvest home?”

Rushing the season is nothing new, and for those of us who find change challenging, there’s always a bit of reluctance and resistance to switching out seasonal décor and charging ahead to the next holiday highlight. But space to enjoy the moment as it unfolds before leaping on to the next best thing would be welcome.

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Honestly, playing Christmas tunes prior to Thanksgiving is like buying a first-anniversary card for a couple on their wedding day. One thing at a time, people!

At a recent church service, the minister opened her sermon with reflections about time and the general sense of acceleration that is encouraged by the commercial and retail industries.

We’ve all experienced that creep and have likely groaned occasionally in response to ads for back-to-school shopping in early July, Valentine’s Day cards and candies up for grabs on Jan.2, Easter goods displayed long before Fat Tuesday and swimsuits and s’mores ingredients on the shelves before we Minnesotans have even powered down our furnaces.

Sure, Christians are called to prepare the way of the Lord — but isn’t that what Advent is for? And while secular celebrants are eager to welcome Santa Claus, plant an elf on a shelf and catch every Hallmark movie and latest celebrity holiday special, one would think four weeks of that would be satisfying enough.

Hearing a fellow fitness class participant cheerily proclaim over two weeks ago that she was completely DONE with her gift-buying for the year nearly made me drop my weights.

Of course, matching recipients to the right gifts has never been my forte, and thus my procrastination in that department is more easily justified. This year, worries about supply chain issues and delivery delays are prompting people to click sooner and more often.

To that I say: SHOP LOCAL. Your local stores remain well-stocked with clothing, candles, crafts, books, appliances, essential (and cooking) oils, seasonings, electronics, décor and more. Granted, online shopping has its place, and harried parents, mobility-challenged adults and stretched-to-the-max workers might say it’s the only way to get it done — but cruising those computer keys and falling down the black hole of website after website and deal after online deal take time, too.

Visiting brick-and-mortar shops near you is one means of slowing down the season, connecting with other living souls, assessing for yourself what the items actually look and feel like and, in some cases, scoring free gift-wrapping — a move that might ultimately save you a little time.

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Go ahead and bake those cookies, rock out to Rudolph, indulge in seasonal sweets, attend every concert you like and decorate to your heart’s content. Just remember to enjoy each moment, however you choose to spend it — because being present is the best present you can give yourself and those you care about.

After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

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