November 22, 2012

Editorial: Thanksgiving is for family


---- — Today is all about family, and that makes it one of the most precious, unspoiled holidays of the year.

For the most part, Thanksgiving has survived the commercialism that has crept into most holiday celebrations. Maybe it’s because retailers are in a rush to get the Christmas shopping season under way since it is such an important part of their bottom line; they seem to skip from Halloween products to Christmas sales without pushing much in the way of Thanksgiving merchandise.

It is enjoyable to have a holiday where you are not expected to buy anything except food, not even a card. The game plan for Thanksgiving day is to relax (except for the cooks) and get together with family. And we use the term “family” loosely because some people might not have many official relatives or they may be too far away to get together with those they have. They, instead, may join a “family” created by friends or co-workers.

Family, after all, is not about blood; it is about bonds of caring. And this day is dedicated to gathering together with people we care about to share food and laughs and to think about the blessings we have in our lives, even in these rough, and sometimes scary, times. Everyone can find something to be thankful for. Most of us, even those who are struggling, have so much more than others around the world whose lives are threatened daily by poverty or war.

Thanksgiving is a day to establish traditions that will have meaning in your children’s lives for many years. Maybe it is sitting together to watch the Thanksgiving Day parades or football games. Maybe it is helping your mom or dad with the cooking. Maybe it is seeing a relative or friend you haven’t visited with in a while or watching an uplifting movie with your kids.

Some people will leave their warm, aromatic homes this Thanksgiving to go out into their communities to help provide meals to people who don’t enjoy the same comforts. They will cook and serve and clean up and share their laughter and kindness.

We aren’t naive enough to think that every family will sit around in bliss enjoying their dinner in an atmosphere of love. But Thanksgiving can also be about forgiveness, about putting aside anger, old wounds or jealousies and concentrating on rebuilding ties.

Today is a good day to set aside pride and get in touch with an estranged family member or friend, to reach out to someone you know is lonely and to express your love to the people who bring meaning to your life.