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holidays

Giving Thanks…after Thanksgiving

January 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Tried as I might I did not get a post up at Thanksgiving time talking about how much I am grateful for and how I’m working to ensure my kids are grateful for their blessings too. Good news is that at this start of the New Year, I could transform my blog draft into a post about being grateful all year long – not just focusing on the big Thanksgiving day. That makes more sense anyway – gratefulness should be yearlong state of mind.

There are so many things in my life that make me grateful but one is spending the holiday season together with family and friends. My family has made the most of this holiday season – Thanksgiving, Christmas and now the New Year. We’ve had our family time, movie nights out, game nights in, shopping sprees, cold walks around the local lake to see the geese and visits to family and friends. At each key holiday I do my best to explain what the spirit of the holiday is about. My kids are still very young, but I know by teaching them small lessons and traditions early my children will be more likely to appreciate the holidays as they grow.

Thanksgiving is a very special American holiday. For one thing, it’s secular and anyone, whether Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, can join in the feast. Many people like to comment about how Thanksgiving is the introductory holiday for new immigrants. These folks certainly have a point, but I’d like to extend it just a little: The attributes that make Thanksgiving appealing to new immigrants are the same ones that make it understandable to children. Expounding on the reasons to give thanks for having a family and a community is an idea that inherently makes sense – to the young and the old – to the new arrival or the long time resident alike.

This Thanksgiving, I talked to my kids about how the Thanksgiving break gave us time to spend together, tell one another how much we love and appreciate each other, and to celebrate this beautiful phenomenon with an equally winsome dinner. Whether it’s called l’Action de grâce or Día del Pavo, it’s a day of celebration with an incredibly resonant and inclusive message, no matter your age. Don’t get me wrong, I love the trapping and trimmings of the holiday season too – from the turkey and stuffing, to the Black Friday deals and the lights on the tree, but in the end I just enjoy being with family and friends, all grateful for being together.