It is easy to talk about giving thanks and being grateful at this time of year, with Thanksgiving fast approaching. I believe that gratitude is one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal for navigating through the chaos and negativity that can often pervade our daily lives, and should become a habit, rather than something we pull out only on holidays.
That said, I feel the holiday represents four main aspects, making it one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. I am thankful when it comes around each year, and here’s why:
Family and Friends- Yes, the meal is the centerpiece (I’ll get to that in a moment), but eating it alone would not be much fun. Seeing friends and relatives you may have not seen in a while (even if you don’t always get along), is a major part of enjoying the day. I personally treasure those times, because there were years when I was growing up when it wasn’t possible to have Thanksgiving at home, due to space and/or money issues. But I do recall the times in my life when I was unable to have it at home, there was always a relative, friend, or even an acquaintance who said, “Come eat with us; you don’t have to be alone.” Today, I want to thank those who took me in and shared their home and bounty. My husband and I have done the same for anyone we knew that didn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving, and will continue to do so. Sharing is just as important as being thankful.
Food- I can’t remember ever having a bad Thanksgiving meal; though some were less memorable than others. Do you have a set list in your mind of what dishes “should” be on the table, and feel somehow cheated if they aren’t? I suppose that comes from our parents making the same dishes every year and becoming accustomed to certain tastes. When I eat at someone else’s house or in a restaurant, even if the food is fantastic, I still want “my” certain dishes, the way I make them. This is a benefit to hosting (besides the leftovers)! So yeah, the food on Thanksgiving is a big deal, more so than the food on any other holiday.
I would also like to thank all of those who work in restaurants on Thanksgiving, serving up the meals they are foregoing in order to be there. Sometimes that is the only way the patrons can have the meal and get together; sometimes it is simply more convenient. But it is appreciated! (While there may not be leftovers, there’s no mess to clean up, either).
Fun– Preparations for the meal can be stressful, especially if there are mishaps. Relationships with others may be strained; sometimes holidays add to the discomfort. But somehow, we manage to fit fun into the day most of the time. Watching the big game, the parade, or a favorite movie are great ways to pass the time when you are so stuffed you can’t get off the couch. Taking a walk or having a game of football on the lawn help get the blood moving once the food coma wears off. Later on, board or card games, or just hanging out and talking….whatever you do, have some fun.
So the holiday is all about giving thanks for the bounty we have, and sharing that bounty. I will be celebrating with Family, Friends, lots of good Food, and having Fun!
How about you? I hope you and yours enjoy the Four F’s of Thanksgiving and then some.