Peggy Kiefer

Grove Sun

Wal-Mart and Lowe’s Home Improvement stores both had Christmas decorations out for sale and it wasn’t even Halloween yet.

On October 31, a few Grove residents were seen hanging up their Christmas Lights. Halloween was actually celebrated on Saturday, October 30 this year in Grove and several surrounding cities because Halloween landed on Sunday. They didn’t turn them on yet, but still, the decorating began.

Another week went by, and more lights start to appear around town. Next, even City Hall is getting into the action. Grove has its annual Christmas Open House November 12 and 13 and more businesses are covered in lights and garland. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and the town is starting to light up.

What happened to Thanksgiving? Has it become part of the holidays?

If you drive across Honey Creek Bridge at night you can see a sign lit up saying “Happy Holidays.”

Not long ago, Happy Holidays meant the same thing as Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Did Thanksgiving get added to that?

Why shouldn’t it? Thanksgiving is a happy occasion when families get together for good food, family time and probably football. Why not make it part of the holidays as well? It’s not far from Christmas on the calendar. They are only a month or so a part.

Traditionally, we spend hours, days and even weeks decorating for Christmas so let’s get our time and money’s worth out of it and enjoy them longer.

Maybe it’s because the economy is bad and people need to have as much cheer as they can get for as long as they can get it. Or maybe it’s because Christmas has just become more important.

What ever the reason, it seems to be happening. Why shouldn’t it?

Besides, in our wonderfully diverse country, Americans are learning to be more tolerant of all religions and that not all families celebrate the same way or celebrate the same thing.

Some will celebrate Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, which is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple. Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev, and lasts for eight days. This year Hanukkah will be December 1-9, but in 2011 it won’t be until December 20-28.

Or others will celebrate Kwanza. Kwanza is a week-long Pan-African festival primarily honoring African-American heritage observed from December 26 to January 1.

Thanksgiving isn’t a religious holiday, but still, it’s a national holiday. New Year’s Eve isn’t a religious holiday either, but most people include it when wishing someone happy holidays.

The weather has changed and almost all the leaves have fallen to the ground. An “Arctic Blast” is being predicted to come in this week. Doesn’t it feel like Christmas? Is it starting to look a lot like Christmas? Walk through Wal-Mart and it sounds like Christmas as Christmas carols sing through the speakers.

Whatever the reason that Christmas seems to come earlier each year, it’s still Thanksgiving on Thursday so let’s be thankful that we live in a country that gives us the freedom to decide when, if and how we want to celebrate our holidays.