My favorite holiday – Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has been for as long as I can remember. It isn’t about commercialism, decorations, candy, or extravagant parties. It’s about food and family, two of my absolute favorite things.

I think of Thanksgiving as a day of reflection and a time to plan ahead for the future. We think about what we are grateful for and what we’d like to change in order to better our lives and those around us. It’s a time of year when people start to connect. Food drives and holiday collections come together to bring those less fortunate a meal or some items they could use. Instead of turning a blind eye to strangers we embrace them with a sense of community.

As a child I looked forward to the delicious food and games we’d play afterwards. Back then there was no rushing off to go Black Friday shopping because Black Friday actually happened on Friday, not Thursday. I remember sitting in the floor with my parents and cousins playing board games and laughing till our bellies hurt on account of the good company, humorous conversation and fifth helping of mashed potatoes.

In my adulthood the holiday has changed. Different people have different ways of celebrating and some have been more enjoyable than others. Commercialism has managed to make its way into the day now with sales beginning during dinner hours forcing people to decide whether a bargain is good enough to miss family time or not. The answer is no, it’s not. At least for me it is. Now I enjoy bargain shopping probably more than most, but deals aren’t going to pull me away from my family at 4 pm on such an important day.

Thanksgiving has been an interesting day for me over the past decade – filled with ups and downs. It was on Thanksgiving that my husband and I announced our first pregnancy. It was also later that night which I lost the baby. That painful miscarriage almost made me lose my love of Thanksgiving. It took another couple years to get it back, especially since the following year I was reminded of it on that very day and had to endure the heartless “scientific” remarks of a family member who watched me cry and continued on until I had to excuse myself from the table. Another Thanksgiving I balled my eyes out as I wrote my very first monologue – the most honest one I’ve ever written in fact, and realized I just needed to pour my soul out on paper. That this, writing, is my therapy. These experiences actually solidified Thanksgiving even more as my favorite holiday because they reminded me of all the things I am thankful for. I have an amazing husband, two beautiful little boys, lots of people in my life who support my choices and the opportunity to write as a career. I am blessed and know it, which is even more of a reason why I love to give to others. My family gives all year-round, not just during the holidays and I encourage others to do the same. People are in need more than just during November and December.

This year will be the first time we are away from all of our family for Thanksgiving and I have mixed emotions about it. While I look forward to spending time with friends (who are basically family) it does make me think…what has happened to Thanksgiving? And maybe it’s not Thanksgiving, but our families and the lives we all lead now. Things were much simpler as children. I hope my kids feel the same way I did at their age, excited for every holiday, unaware of the work, stress and planning that goes into each one. Just pure joy. That’s all I ask. That’s all I want for them…pure joy. During this day and every other.

Do you have a favorite holiday?

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