Thanksgiving is more than just a day off

Published: Last Updated on
Graphic by Andy Carr

Graphic by Andy Carr

Despite the Christmas decorations that are taking over the empty Halloween shelves in every retail store or the continuous Hallmark Christmas movie marathons, there is still one more holiday left: Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving can be easily overshadowed by the chaotic Santa season or the once-a-year shopping extravaganza. However, it’s much more important than many realize. This holiday is a time to be grateful for what is in your life and to unite with friends, family and just anyone important in your life. Also don’t forget the delicious food.

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to give back to your community by reaching out, to lend others a helping hand. Whether it is volunteering at a local soup kitchen, donating a few dollars to a local charity or just reaching out to a stranger, one act of kindness can make the world a little better. It’s the time to give to those who may need it most and a time to express gratitude for all that we have in our lives.

We occasionally get too wrapped up in our everyday routines and end up taking things for granted. I know I am guilty of this. I get so focused on my own life that I forget some people don’t have the same things I do, like a warm bed to sleep in at night or food to eat every day. Thanksgiving is the time to feel grateful for all the mundane things we are blessed with in life such as food, transportation, a home, an education and family.

Family is the single most important thing one has in life, whether that family is related to you by blood or someone you met in high school English class. This season is the time to take a break from whatever you are doing in your life and spend the time with those who are important to you. It’s the season to try out that new cookie recipe you found on Pinterest that you have been dying to try, or maybe it’s simply the time to break out the cookies you bought at the store because you forgot to add flour to your recipe. Thanksgiving is the season to sit around your rickety, old kitchen table with your crazy friends and family and just appreciate all those who surround you.

Thanksgiving is the time to finally embrace those quirky family traditions that have somehow survived every generation since the Mayflower and the silly traditions, such as when the men watch football in the living room while the women chit chat and slave away at the stove while watching all the kids play football in the backyard. It’s time to break out the family Jeopardy and the devious game of  Pictionary. It’s time to dive into a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes and fresh homemade apple pie. Thanksgiving is simply the time to sit and enjoy the company around you and be thankful for another year that has gone by too soon.

I know some people’s holidays involve broken families, as does mine,  and it can be quite difficult to appease everyone on the big day. This is especially true if everyone lives in different cities or even states.

However, just making the effort to spend time with your loved ones is all anyone can really ask from you, even if it is only an hour. It’s your job to make the most out of that one hour. Plus Thanksgiving is the time to reach out to those who may not have the same support that you do and help make the day special for them as well.

Thanksgiving can mean many things: a time for giving, a time of appreciation, a time of thanks, a time of gratitude and a time for family and friends. The importance of Thanksgiving can vary from person to person, but what is most important about this unforgettable holiday is what it means to you.

For me,  Thanksgiving is the time when I can show off my cooking skills with my grandfather and a time when I can crush my brother at family Jeopardy. And it is even the time when I listen to my dad talk about football.

Whatever your reasons may be, Thanksgiving is much more than a pre-Christmas season or a time to shop till you drop, or even the incredible food.

Thanksgiving is the time to appreciate everyone in your life, both good and bad, because those are the people who ultimately shape you into the person that you are. So when you head home for Thanksgiving weekend, think about all that is in your life and think about just what Thanksgiving means to you.

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