Thanksgiving is a special holiday . . . although spending the day halfway around the world in Budapest; it does have a different feel for my husband and me this year.
In some ways, Thanksgiving does a better job of promoting the Christmas spirit than will happen next month. On Thanksgiving, we are reminded to note and savor our blessings and to reach out in generosity to our neighbors and our community. If you know someone alone on Thanksgiving, it is automatic to include them at your table. With our own family scattered across the country, there have been times when we were those appreciative extra dinner guests at the home of friends.
Unlike Christmas, the only gifts that are expected are ones that most can provide without piling up a mountain of debt: gifts of time, companionship, good cheer and food. Thanksgiving is the holiday calm before the storm of feverish Christmas consumerism and gift-buying anxiety that traditionally descends on the nation the next day.
On Thanksgiving, we gather with friends and family to strengthen bonds of love and friendship, sometimes after long absences. Many times, there are extra places for newcomers to the gathering, thanks to the marriages and births that have enlarged the family since last Thanksgiving.
Our elders can savor the energy and optimism of the youngsters in the family. And families across the nation are united by traditions such as turning on the television to see Philadelphia’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade or to watch their favorite football team win (or lose).
Naturally, everyone anticipates the table overflowing with roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie . . . a dinner that is always energetically consumed and for some followed by contented snores. Before taking that nap, remember to thank the cooks and some help with the dishes would be appreciated even more.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday . . . wish the spirit could continue throughout the year. There is much to be thankful for today – family, friends and community do matter. Best wishes for a very special Thanksgiving, wherever you are!