In praise of Thanksgiving


Tomorrow is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. I know that Thanksgiving isn’t a Kiwi thing, but I really love the sentiment of it. It’s an annual celebration of family and friends, togetherness and appreciation of those we love. It involves big family dinners and a recitation of what you’re thankful for — a good opportunity to reflect on the blessings of your life. The idea of a whole day set aside to focus on gratitude is immensely appealing to me, particularly at this stressful and busy time of year.

As the junk mail in my letterbox keeps reminding me, Christmas is right around the corner. The local butcher has already called to ask if I want to order a turkey or a ham this year. My kids have provided me with revised wish lists to pass along to Santa. We’ve been invited to three holiday parties already (two of which are on the same day). Who has time to sit down and think about gratitude for a moment, let alone an entire day?

In America, Thanksgiving is a national holiday. Imagine, a national holiday devoted to gratitude! How can we get that sort of thing to pass here? I think in the middle of winter, when we’re in what I like to call the Holiday Wasteland (that long and barren period between Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day), we could use a day of giving thanks. And food, of course.

Here’s what I’d do on my ideal Thanksgiving:

  1. Sleep until noon.
  2. Get up and hug my kids, and tell them how much I love them and how awesome they are.
  3. Call my family members and tell them the same thing. Invite everyone over for a meal.
  4. Cook a massive dinner featuring everyone’s favourite comfort foods. (Alternative idea: Hangi. Om nom nom nom nom)
  5. Sit down with family and friends to eat. Laugh, tell stories, reminisce.
  6. Everyone go around the table and say what they’re thankful for.
  7. Watch old family movies and tell more stories until everyone is yawning and mellow.
  8. Fall asleep on the sofa and leave the dishes for tomorrow.

Actually, I shouldn’t wait for Government to decree Thanksgiving a national holiday here in Aotearoa. I should just try to be thankful and grateful for the blessings I have in my life, without needing a special day set aside for it.

Katherine Granich

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