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The times, they are a-changin’

By | November 28, 2012 | Opinion, Top Opinion Story

It has been almost a week since Thanksgiving day.

We returned to school Monday with heavy eyelids and desperate hopes of squeezing in an afternoon nap, which is highly unlikely during these last days of school.

Slices of stuffed holiday beast and mounds of gravy-topped potatoes finally settle in our overindulged stomachs as we attempt to finish leftovers, if any.

I cannot speak for you, but my “Thanksgiving pants” are still being put to use.

Following the subsided Black Friday crowd are the wise Internet shoppers who pick up the slack at half price.

From this point on, our television stations and radios are devoted to holiday sale-pitching and brainwashing children to pester parents into purchasing toy robots and “iProducts.”

But before we rush into the Christmas season – as we so impatiently do before Halloween even has its chance to shine – I cannot help but share the overwhelming thankfulness I feel for having normal (whatever “normal” is) childhood holiday experiences.

As a 24-year-old college student — 25 in two weeks — the past few holiday seasons have been somewhat of a drag.

And this is not due to a lack of gifts or food or a roof over my head. It is more of a nostalgic feeling that accompanies aging and people going their separate ways.

Over the past five years, the usual family dynamic has changed at my house during holiday seasons.

Two years ago, my great-grandmother died on Thanksgiving. This year, my grandfather passed a few days before Thanksgiving.

My parents attended two out-of-town funerals two years in a row, leaving our home celebration barren and almost nonexistent.

This year on Halloween, I drove the streets of Fresno expecting hundreds of miniatures running the streets in their adorable outfits – the outfits we once fit.

But I was disappointed to see three or four trick-or-treaters with pillowcases in hand — and it was daylight.

I felt pity for those kids because they have no idea what Halloween used to be like and how much fun it was when neighborhoods were safer and full of life on Oct. 31.

Or are they having a blast and I am simply reminiscing?

All of this, I believe, is the result of the once younger generation – us – becoming adults.

As a child, nothing stopped Thanksgiving and Christmas from coming — those days were a given.

Today, it is a tossup depending on work and school schedules and having money to travel and pay bills.

I clearly remember holidays as a child.

Halloween meant elementary school parades and trick or treating in the dark amongst hundreds of princesses and Power Rangers.

Homes were actually decorated, and it was safe enough to venture off into a neighbor’s one-story remake of The Addams Family home.

My father claimed he was the official “candy inspector” at our house, but I know now that he just wanted first grab at the goods.

By the time my Halloween candy was devoured, it was Thanksgiving – one of my favorite celebrations.

Sandwiched between the spookiest day of the year and one of the holiest (in my family), Thanksgiving was trimmed with the best of the in-between – a family dinner with 20 or more people, a ceiling-high stack of pumpkin pies and, of course, football.

I could always count on Thanksgiving dinner as a gathering of those I love and rarely saw.

So far, Christmas has remained the same in my family.

Although I am 200 miles away from home, I would walk barefoot on Highway 99 and crawl over the Grapevine to be with my family on Christmas.

The only thing about the holiday that has changed since age 13 is my belief in Santa (yes, 13 years old). Now I simply pretend during Christmastime that there is a Santa ,and it makes the season even more magical.

It is memories like these that fill my mind and open my eyes to just how much we have changed since  we believed in the existence of Santa Claus and the Boogey Man.

I suppose that is the glory of having our own children and continuing the traditions that we have enjoyed since we were young.

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