Giving Thanks

When schoolchildren are asked what Thanksgiving means, they usually mention food or being thankful. They don’t tend to say “shopping.”
But Black Friday has been in the news for weeks, and it’s only going to get worse. It shifts focus to getting a head start on Christmas gifts, rather than visiting Grandma for family time.
For years, retailers have pushed back the start of Christmas – Santa Clauses and holiday wrapping paper were in the stores while we shopped for Halloween candy.
Getting first in line to buy a reduced price big-screen TV? Grabbing up discounted socks? Are those the defining icons of holiday spirit? And should they be crowding out thoughts of giving thanks?
We can all use a sale, but we can also use a chance to relax with family or friends. That’s basic to Thanksgiving, and helps us realize what we have to be thankful for.
No question, this country is far from the Norman Rockwell images of big families crowded around the Thanksgiving dinner table, but most of us still mark the occasion by sharing a meal with family or friends and pausing for a few hours from the constant jabbering of the online world. And for those who have the next day off work, it’s extra time to spend with the children, or just to take a breather, rather than prime time for pushing through crowds.
We all want businesses to thrive, but encouraging mindless spending is far from the best way to boost the economy. And promoting that spending at a time when we could be otherwise occupied makes it worse.
But if that’s what we’ve come to, what, other than greed, does Thanksgiving mean today?
We suggest looking at it as the perfect occasion to take stock in what we have in our lives.
First are the simple things we take for granted – a roof over our heads, food in the refrigerator, clothes in the closet.
Then there’s the freedom to live and travel where we want, to worship or not as we choose, to express our political views publicly – as well as in the privacy of the voting booth.
We may not have the money we think we need or the job we want or the house we desire, but we have a say in how our communities are governed.
And this is a good time to look beyond ourselves, to consider those who don’t have the comforts we take for granted, and to help however we can, whether with donations or time.
At Nutfield Publishing, we’re thankful for your support in our effort to bring you the news of your communities. Happy Thanksgiving!