Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has been for some time. At first it was because it was all about food and I have always loved to eat. But now I love Thanksgiving for different reasons.
First, Thanksgiving is an all inclusive holiday that virtually everyone in this country celebrates. Not everyone does something summery and special for Memorial Day. Easter is a religious holiday, and not even every Christian does something special for it even if they acknowledge its passing. Christmas is all over the map in terms of traditions. But when it comes to Thanksgiving, almost every business shuts down and everyone gets to participate. Of course there are many folks who do work on Thanksgiving, but I have always found that whoever you are with becomes your family for the day. Whether you are with family or friends or even strangers, on Thanksgiving, kindness prevails and we break bread together in some way.
Secondly, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition. Okay, okay, okay, it has become socially acceptable, even cool to bash our country and its faults in culture. Celebrities do it all the time. And while I do not turn a blind eye to all the cultural issues that we have, we should be proud of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a thoughtful holiday, a time out to give thanks for all the blessings we have. Today when our culture is synonymous with take-out cheeseburgers, texting on smartphones and stalled out highway traffic we should be proud that way back at our country’s dawn our ideological ancestors began such a wonderful and thoughtful tradition.
Thirdly, Thanksgiving is all about food! Yum, yum, yum. I can’t decide what I like best—turkey, my Spinach Madeline, my sister in law’s sweet potato soufflé or my mother-in-law’s German stuffing with all the bacon. Thanksgiving is all about food. It is a holiday that centers around the harvest table. That is especially poignant for those of us who eat locally and seasonally. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all we have in life, yes, but specifically that sentiment grew from one group’s thankfulness over an adequate harvest. We take having enough food for granted so much these days that it is easy to forget why our forefather’s were so thankful and why the holiday is all about food in the first place. And I do love that it is tradition to eat seasonally even if just for the one day. Many different ethnicities across the country give Thanksgiving their own twist, but most still serve a turkey and some sides that are typical to the Northeastern US, where the first Thanksgiving began. Perhaps a meal of root vegetables and gourds defeats the purpose if you live in say, the Southwest, but that is what makes this Holiday great. You can adapt the food without losing the essence of the holiday itself.
And lastly, I really really like that in the last several years in my current job, my office has been closed on Black Friday. I like being able to enjoy the four day weekend with friends and family. I like that I do not have to go into a mall on the day of the year known for long lines and crazy shopper behavior. Though I must say, during my years in retail management, there was a special energy to working Black Friday that was *almost* fun. And even during those years I always liked that the feeling of Thanksgiving permeated the whole four day weekend, even if you had to work.
So tonight as I type (it is Sunday evening as I type this), I am a bit melancholy for the long Thanksgiving weekend to end. It comes but once a year. We are off onto the frenzy of Christmas. And while the underlying message of Christmas is similar to Thanksgiving, Christmas has been painted up with commercialism. So until next year, here is to giving thanks for all the blessings of this life. I am especially thankful for my family and my children because they are wonderful people whom I love, my job because they are like a second family to me and my home because it is warm, inviting and safe. I am also eternally thankful that God guides me every day to where I need to be in order to do good things and live a better life. That is the kind of good fortune that makes me deeply thankful. And of course, I am also very thankful for my new glittery ballet flats. I mean, all work and no play makes Christa a dull girl. (It really does.)
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!