What Thanksgiving means to me, by Denise

Wednesday afternoon. Do you remember those assignments in grade school that asked you to recall what you'd done on your summer vacation or what America meant to you? Today's entry is my attempt to bring back a little of those good, old days.

Thanksgiving is a day for families, a day of love, of remembering happy things and sad, too. It's about taking a moment to pause in our pell mell rush toward Christmas or Hanukkah or Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa to remember how blessed we are, no matter the challenges we face in our lives.

Many of the holidays on the calendar have gained an unfortunate merchandising tie in which, in my opinion, diminishes them tremendously. Much of this has to do with the media and their obsession with producing segments on "the hottest gifts this holiday season" and so on. The retailers share in this responsibility, too, and who can blame them for trying to take advantage of our need to celebrate by increasing our Visa and Mastercard balances? Who among us wouldn't do the same thing when faced with the opportunity? (Be honest now!) Still and all, it's left us with hyper commercial, homogenized holidays. Except Thanksgiving.

Sandwiched between Halloween, with all of the costumes and candy to buy, and the Christmas/Hanukkah gift giving extravaganza, Thanksgiving is different. There is no requirement to do or buy anything in order to celebrate Thanksgiving. Sure, there is the whole expectation of the ginormous turkey dinner with all of the fixings, but you could just as easily substitute a Big Mac value meal and the holiday wouldn't lose its essential meaning, which is to enjoy a day off with your friends and family, and celebrate life in general for at least one meal. This is why Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday.

So, to everyone reading this, wherever you are, pause for a moment tomorrow, amidst the family fun and multiple helpings of food, and count your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

[Note that I wrote this on Wednesday and when I tried to save a draft of it, Blogger "ate" it. It reappeared tonight (Sunday), so I'm publishing it now. I know it's a little late, but it really is the thought that counts, isn't it???]


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