For some, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year.
In terms of its meaning, maybe it is.
At its best, Thanksgiving is a day we’re supposed to think about all we have and to appreciate it. I think about how grateful I am every day for my home, my job, my pets, my friends, my education, my health and my great luck to have been born in the United States.
When you write it down like that, it sure looks like I’m a lucky woman.
At its worst, Thanksgiving signals the beginning of a six-week-long orgy of gluttony and commercialism.
This year, I’m not sure what it signals.
We’re told not to be in crowds. If that advice is followed, it pretty much puts a stop to what we do from Thanksgiving to Christmas: pigging out and shopping.
That’s not as bad a thing as it might sound.
It’s as though we’ve glorified the turkey dinner, when, honestly, surf and turf is a much better meal. In fact, an Italian dinner or a Chinese buffet is better.
Then, we act as though it’s a competition to see who can eat the most without explodng. If that’s your only pig-out day of the year, I can understand it. But most of us find other excuses to pig out, like Christmas and New Year’s Day (or Eve), which are only about a month away. Then, you’ve got birthdays (yours and all your family and friends) and all the cookouts that come during the summer. There’s always an excuse to feast. But Thanksgiving isn’t about feasting. It’s about appreciating what you have, even if it isn’t a feast.
Every year, I’m saddened by the crazy grabs for material things. It starts in full on Black Friday, but for the last few years, the shopping sprees are creeping earlier and earlier. Of all the things wrong with our country, greed is surely the root of most of it. Buying children anything they want isn’t in their best interest, either. We — children and adults — are spoiled, and as we’ve learned this year, it’s much more difficult to cope with disasters when you’re spoiled.
Plus, as we approach Christmas, we should be thinking about the birth of Jesus, not the beginning of the most exciting shopping of the year.
I enjoy a turkey dinner as much as the next person and I’ve been known to participate in retail therapy, but this year shouldn’t consist of any of that. We should think about what we have to be grateful for and this year, that includes simply being alive.
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