We’ve reached a time of year in America when it seems that everyone, everywhere is planning for some kind of landmark. The calendar will change in a couple of months, and companies and people are planning celebrations of every kind: Thanksgiving, End of Year, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the upcoming New Year itself.
The season of celebrations produces two things, the opposite of one another. Celebrations are accompanied by traditions, time-honored and reliable practices that give our lives structure and comfortability. This time of year, though, is also accompanied by departures from the routine, new tasks, shopping lists, and boxes to be checked that are not present year-round. These hectic new agenda items exist because, inherently, celebrations necessitate the preparation for celebration. The build up.
Recently, I worked on a small task for the Greater Jackson Chamber’s Annual Celebration. They hosted a game-show type trivia competition, and all the questions centered around Old Hollywood. Do you recognize this actor? This movie? This poster? That type of thing. My job was just to find the pictures, videos, and posters to be used. Somewhere in that process, sifting through photos of actors from the 40s to find shots that weren’t so grainy they couldn’t be used, I saw the iconic poster for It’s a Wonderful Life. If you’re anything like me and you come from one of the thousands of American families for whom that movie is appointment viewing every year, you’ll probably recognize it instantly. It captures the moment near the end of the film when Jimmy Stewart has received his second chance, arriving home, and Donna Reed runs in to meet him. It’s impossible not to be moved. But it got me thinking about the little things we mark our lives by — watching the same movies every year, eating the same pie on Thanksgiving, and so on. I’m sure you have your own list of rituals. This time of year is full of them, both personally and professionally.
Some people wait with rapt anticipation, like a child on the arrival of Santa Claus, for the day Starbucks tosses out their plain white cups in favor of the bright red and pizzazz of the holiday seasonal cups. Some people leave out their pumpkins and scarecrows until December 24th, waiting out the progressively cooler days of November and most of December with patience. Jackson saw its first actual cold snap of the season this week, enough to frost the grass a glassy white in the morning and freeze a thin layer of ice over the windshields of anyone trying to leave for work.
After the first cold snap and beginning of this annual season of various celebrations, Brittany Crockett mentioned in one of the non-serious Adelsberger Marketing Slack channels that she had begun the countdown to Christmas. Yesterday, though, I saw someone post on Instagram a picture of their shed, making a not very funny or very original joke about how that is where their Christmas tree would stay until December. I’ll leave you with this, from Brittany in Slack after her early onset holiday spirit was challenged: “We take the wins where we can get them.”
For that reason, I welcome this season of new tasks, new checklists, and new celebrations.