The holiday season, as it's evolved, is often a stressful time of year. That's not a news flash to anyone. Expectations for perfect family gatherings, getting the perfect gift, making the perfect memory, even being on the perfect behavior — are all hard to reach.
But Thanksgiving is different.
No presents to buy. No lofty expectations. No real pressure.
Well no pressure except for the cook (thanks Mom and my sister) or the dude grilling the turkey (my brother-in-law).
At it's best, it's family around the table to share a meal.
And for this American holiday, which really began as a shared meal in 1621, between the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians, it's day to be grateful for what we have. Which in this nation, on its worst day, is quite a lot.
According to History.com, "it wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November."
So, for many of us, we'll gather across the miles. We'll eat plenty of stuffing, potatoes and pumpkin pie to last til Christmas. We'll bring up old stories, watch a balloon-accented parade on the streets of New York City, catch a couple of football games, looking through the shopping ads, gripe about who isn't helping with the after-meal cleanup and, truth to be told, enjoy being together. If we're really good, we'll volunteer and reach out to families and people who are struggling and hungry and in need of a hand up.
Because, at it's best and at it's worst, Thanksgiving is about family. No pressure. Just the simple joy of being together with the ones you love, even when they drive you crazy. Happy Thanksgiving.