a park with the ground covered in colored leaves and the trees full of color
a park with the ground covered in colored leaves and the trees full of color

Ease Up, It’s November!

Paul Kiernan

There is so much going on in November that it seems almost criminal to skip over to Christmas.

This happens every year, and I have stayed quiet because I don’t want to sound like an old man sitting on his porch yelling at kids to get the hell off my trebuchet. But, this year, I will not be quiet, and you may call me what you like; I have had it.

Halloween was not even over; the kids had not tricked and treated yet, the sun was still in the sky, and the spooky feeling still lingered in the air. Halloween was still with us, and yet, in the aisles of my local Safeway, there was no sign of ghosts, ghouls, or goblins. You know what there were signs of? I’ll tell ya. Christmas. Yup, candy canes and red and white M&Ms had already sprung from back rooms and were now populating the shelves where, mere hours ago, there were bags of candy for the trick-or-treaters, pumpkins, and all manner of spooky delights. The holiday wasn’t gone, but any sign of them certainly was. And in its place … Christmas.

Now, don't get your woke selves in a knot; I am not at war with Christmas; I love Christmas, and I say Merry Christmas as well as Happy Holidays, so chill. What I’m saying is it’s November for the love of all that’s holy. Can we not just leap over this month and move so swiftly into Christmas???

November is a great month with many things to hold our interest and even celebrate. Thanksgiving comes to mind, with its great feasting and gathering of family and friends and football and pies and midnight sammiches full of turkey and stuffing and all manner of warm wonders. Please, let’s not pass over this.

A man with a well groomed handlebar mustache

What’s Great About November (H2)

There is so much going on in November that it seems almost criminal to skip over to Christmas. First off, November is National Novel Writing Month. This event calls on writers ot put aside their fears, silence their inner critics, and, in just one month, produce a novel. That’s a recommended minimum of 50,000 words. You don’t need to be a writer or even have an idea; the folks at NaNoWriMo will help you with ideas, schedules, and tips; check them out here: https://nanowrimo.org/ and start your novel journey.

And that’s just one great thing about November! Now you’re saying, well, that seems nerdy and complicated; is there anything else that can excite me about November? Yes, dear readers, there is.

November is the month of love. Yes, yes, it is. Sure, we think of February with Valentine’s Day, but in reality, for those lovers of love symbols, November is much more lovey. Why, you ask? Because I say, that’s when red roses bloom. Yup, red roses, the symbol of love, and forgive me, and I’m sorry I ran over your cat; I’m sorry I’m a guy and stupid; these beauties bloom in November. Also, Chrysanthemums, Tulips, and Dahlias. In the northeastern states, cherry blossoms are abundant in this month. So, get a bouquet, some candy, and a lovely hand-written note, and get that romance going. The perfect month to snuggle.

What else?

November 2nd is National Deviled Eggs Day, the 3rd is National Sandwich Day; and the 4th is National Candy Apple Day. There are three great reasons ot sit and savor November before running out to Christmas shop.

We go on.

November 5th is National Doughnut Appreciation Day. Hold on to that for a moment. It’s not National Donut Day; it's the day to appreciate the humble yet slightly miraculous donut. The sweet ball of fried dough that has evolved from plain or jelly-filled to become a hothouse of experimentation, accepting and welcoming different flavors and toppings like bacon and maple, hot peppers, and so many varieties of cream filling. This day, don’t just buy a donut and toss it down your gullet while you drive the kids to clogging class. Stop, appreciate, and know that November is the month to spend quality time with a donut.

While appreciating your donut, why not take it for a walk through a field of crispy, crinkly leaves? Nothing says fall like crunching leaves as you walk. Sweater on, maybe a scarf, and the feel and sound of dried leaves. It’s a sensory return to childhood, and we get that in full force during November.

Mustaches rule in Movember. Bringing attention to mental health, suicide prevention, prostate, and testicular cancer is the point of Movember when people sprout hair on the upper lip. Start planning early and grow your stache.

A lovely Thanksgiving dinner table

And the best part of November is Thanksgiving.

This is a holiday that should not be taken lightly, overlooked, or just pushed through so we can get to Christmas. This is a holiday that needs more attention than it gets. This year, Thanksgiving is going to be difficult for me, as it is the first year that all of my family has passed, and I will be alone with nowhere to go. So, I want to say, from this side of life, don't skip this meal, don’t blow off the day, don’t mark time til Black Friday. Sit, see faces, hear voices, mentally record laughter, and keep the day open for adventures with the people who mean the most to you. Don’t focus on the stress of the meal, but rather on the joy of being together, feasting, laughing, and knowing this could be the last or it could be too short a moment in our lives. Take the day and be present, be silly, be hopeful, be kind, and don’t skip a second of it because it matters. A meal, family and friends, and a time to say thank you.

That’s a short list, but it’s enough to get you started. Do you have any great November traditions? What makes November a memorable month for you? Share ideas and stories with us and others and make the world feel a little smaller. 

Christmas is great for so many reasons, but Christmas has the power of money behind it; Thanksgiving is supported by things that maybe don’t make a ton of money for people, but what it does give us is ultimately priceless. So, don’t skip November and all the wonders and possibilities it holds. Don't pass through Thanksgiving on the way to the line at Best Buy. Stop, listen to the leaves crunch, write a novel, wear a new sweater, and gather at tables to feast and give thanks; it matters, it matters a great deal.

Happy November from everyone here at ThoughtLab.