As I was wandering through the dollar store recently, I noticed the aisle cluttered with everything Halloween—candy, costumes, and myriad decorations. One aisle over, stretching from the front of the store to the back, were Christmas items running the gamut from wrapping paper to doormats. Although I’m used to “Christmas in October” in every retail establishment, it struck me for the first time that maybe as a society we feel welcome to ignore November, to skip over all that it has to offer in favor of jumping into the next frenzied shopping experience. The token Thanksgiving Day retail offerings would hardly be missed.
So, if we simply excised November, what would happen? We would lose the joy, and for some, the agony, of celebrating Veteran’s Day and gratefully acknowledging all that members of our armed services have sacrificed to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily. Thanksgiving would be a distant memory of family and friends gathering for food, football, fun, and chaos. Again, we would bypass the opportunity to express overt gratitude for all that we have and our blessings too numerous to count. In 2013, we would also be without the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, a sad omission of the start of an important religious season for many.
Without November, we would miss the slow exodus of fall, the gradual lessening of daylight hours, the first smell of wood-burning fireplaces, the excitement of pulling sweaters out of the cedar chest one by one, We would lose the opportunity to slide gracefully into winter from a season of gentleness and beauty all around. I think we need November after all.