They say, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” and this year I’ve come to realize that in many ways, but none more significantly than the holiday traditions that I have always associated with Thanksgiving.
When I was told this year that we wouldn’t be celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional turkey dinner it felt so wrong I refused to think about it. I have only had one other Thanksgiving where a turkey and all the fixings weren’t a part of the day and it stands out as one of the worst Thanksgivings I’ve ever had.
I didn’t understand why this was when I was younger, but I think I understand the feeling a little better now. I associate a big turkey dinner with family coming together. It takes the whole of the family coming together to make everything we need for the meal, and there is something special in that. There is a specific kind of love that comes with cooking for someone else and when you do it as a group it is amplified.
Sure, we will all still be bringing food for our dinner Thursday, but we will make it in our own homes and bring it all ready to the dinner table. There is something about this thought that makes me sad. I think that given the massive divides we’ve seen during this election year I was looking for that pulling together, that sense of unity. I was looking forward to that small moment of grace to be thankful for.
So much of our holiday culture these days is dominated by which store has the best sales. It’s greeting cards and candy and anything else that could distract us. We get so concerned with things that we forget the people around us. We forget everything we already have. We forget people because things just seem more interesting in the moment.
So instead of focusing on how much cool stuff I can get on Black Friday this year, my focus is entirely on Thursday. I want to make a point of interacting with every member of my family that I can. I want them to know that I am thankful for them no matter what. I want to focus on being thankful for things that I often take for granted, like having a home, food to eat, a job that I love, and friends that have my back whenever I need them. When these things become so commonplace that we forget to be thankful for them we run the risk of losing them.
I look ahead and think of my friends who are having children and to the children I may one day have and I can only hope we raise them with traditions. I hope we raise them to know that coming together in love is important. I hope we teach them that there is more to the world than the things you can get. I hope we teach them to see that the gift that will never die is memory and traditions are the start of some of the best memories i have.