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Thanks

I approach most holidays with an anthropologist’s mindset. I like to know the history of the holiday, I’m interested in the customs and rituals and I enjoy watching other people celebrate. Sometimes I even participate; yet most holidays don’t engage me.  For starters, there are too many of them; worse, they have mostly fallen prey to our relentless need to “retail-ize” our holidays, so that every celebration, however solemn or sacred, seems to come with its own sales and marketing plan.

However, I confess to having a weakness when it comes to Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is about food – or rather, about the preparing and partaking of a meal together, which is the penultimate social experience. Then there’s the Macy’s parade, which, yes,  I watch every Thanksgiving morning. Most significantly, I like sitting down and giving thanks.

Cynics may point out that family gatherings can bring out the worst in people; that the Macy’s parade doesn’t always benefit from the kind of perfect weather we had this morning; and that selecting one day a year to be thankful is ridiculous,  especially when gratitude competes with turkey, cranberry sauce and Aunt Deb’s stuffing.

But taking stock of one’s good fortune is a useful exercise and we need to start somewhere. So I say, go ahead and give thanks for friends, family, health, your spouse, kids or pet, or even the kindness of strangers during difficult times. Tip your hat to silly things that make you smile, like cheesy TV shows, take-out food, unexpectedly balmy skies or even a pair of comfortatble shoes. And spend a moment thanking others who are working on your behalf around the world. Wish them well and safe journey home in time for Thanksgiving next year. 

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