I made the trek to IKEA today with two school mum friends. We found lots of fun christmassy stuff and oohed and aahed over big paper 3D stars - in white, silver and red. Only white ones were left, which we liked, but didn't buy. Sort of a relief really, as it was easy to imagine how great stars adorning our ceilings, porches, doors and eaves would look. One could spend a lot on paper stars.... There were plenty of other good finds though, like melamine plates and trays with pink and red snowflake designs; red painted terracotta pots; cool tin planters with lace; spotted and striped glass bowls; and lanterns, lots of lanterns. The pack of red baubles looking like puddings, that come in their own patty cake holders was irresistible!
My American friend was musing on her family's cultural tradition of Thanksgiving. It's not something we're that familiar with in Australia. In fact, being thankful isn't huge in our culture - which is sad, because we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.
Our peaceful land stretches a very long way, with beautiful scenery of almost every description - from white sands and clear blue oceans, to lush green farmlands and snow-capped mountains (well, they're mountains to us), through to the wide open plains and great sandy deserts. There is enough room for the people who live here, and yet we get paranoid about overcrowding. Most people have homes to live in and enough food to eat - but our culture is often obsessed with telling us that we don't have enough. Even our weather, which beckons us outside almost the whole year round and allows us a lifestyle many around the world can only dream about, can be the subject of popular complaint.
Perhaps we need a thanksgiving holiday after all (Australians love holidays, I don't think anyone would complain about that) - to remind ourselves of the many blessings that surround us.
I think it might be time to take a breath and put the Christmas tree decorating on hold. I'm going to attempt to make a pumpkin pie and I'll ask the kids to write some lists - of all the things they can think of to be thankful for.