Take time to give thanks
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This week marks the annual Thanksgiving holiday.
The trappings of commerce and marketing makes much of the meal. According to the National Turkey Federation, 46 million turkeys will be cooked and eaten this week along with 80 million pounds of cranberry sauce, 250 million pounds of potatoes — enough for several mountains of mashed potatoes and an ocean of gravy.
Others focus on the holiday as being the gateway to the Christmas season, especially when it comes to shopping. Whether you shop Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, retailers are offering deals galore trying to lure consumers and grab a share of the $87 billion industry experts predict will be spent nationwide this year. Black Friday is an important make or break point for many large and small retailers and with the economy and consumer confidence strong, the season should be a good one.
Others have a different take on the Thanksgiving holiday. For them, it is a day of stress. Cooking, cleaning and hosting arms-length relations that you feel obligated to invite and who you silently pray won’t derail a meticulously prepared meal by loudly expressing misguided opinions on social issues, politics and religion.
All of these versions of the Thanksgiving holiday share a common thread of missing the point about why Americans hold a holiday each year on the fourth Thursday in November. It is not about the turkey, or the hours of work to prepare for guests, or even about the shopping. Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks.
It is a day to humbly and without ulterior motive, express gratitude for the blessings and challenges in our lives over the past year.
Giving voice to gratitude feels good, but its benefits go beyond that. Researchers have found it brings with it health benefits such as bolstered immune systems, healthier hearts, a reduction in stress, and even slowing down the aging process.
Remember this as you plan out your Black Friday shopping, bite your tongue at your boorish brother-in-law’s opinions, or are up to your elbows in turkey and dressing. Remember that it is not about the trappings of the holiday, but is about giving thanks for all that we have and all that we share.