I used to HATE Thanksgiving. Yep, that’s right. If the Grinch hated Christmas, I would’ve been stealing cornucopias instead of decorated trees in Whoville. It’s still not my favorite holiday, and I have many reasons why that is that I won’t get into this go around.
One of my key complaints is that Thanksgiving is stressful for many people because of its proximity to Christmas. In addition, it is another obligation to travel when it’s already off to grandmother’s house we go in December. It’s just a lot to put on people in a short amount of time. I’d be happier if Thanksgiving were, say – in June! But the idea of pumpkin pie in summer feels a bit odd.
Another critical reason for my early aversion to the holiday stemmed from its excess. It was always too much food for not enough people. My mother would be exhausted when dinner was ready, and – to me – it was an over-the-top and unnecessary amount of work. She wasn’t cooking for dozens of people, just a handful.
Don’t even get me started on the fact that we have a turkey AND a ham every year. It’s too much food, but she loves cooking for us, and I would never rain on her parade. Plus, it is all delicious!
I’m not writing this to bah humbug all over the fun of Thanksgiving though. On the contrary, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to appreciate the heart of it. It’s about family, sure (which was part of the issue that made me dislike it, if I’m being honest). It’s more than an excuse to gather. As stated above, that is also part of Christmas, and the countries that don’t have a Thanksgiving holiday manage to annoy each other just fine.
No, we’re fortunate enough to have food to share – that is a blessing! So many people in our world don’t have enough food. The fact that I can cook a meal with my family and have electricity, hot water, and a roof over my head reminds me to be thankful. If we approach Thanksgiving ethically (and economically), we can also use it as an opportunity to support local farmers by purchasing farm-raised meats and vegetables. We can let it spur us into volunteering at the Arkansas Food Bank or a local homeless shelter. It creates a time of giving, which should exist year-round, but when the weather turns cold, we need each other to keep warm. Thanksgiving is a bounty celebration- a day to share with those around us.
Plus, if you freeze the leftovers, they can last the rest of the year – thanks, mom. . . Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!