After a long conversation about the wonderful and cherished place Thanksgiving holds in our family, my husband and I were at a loss to describe it in a few succinct words. What is it exactly about this particular holiday that makes it a standout in a year of celebrations?
Thanksgiving traditionally is about gratitude, for sure. I am grateful for many blessings, good fortune and wellness. I have tried to practice gratitude daily this year, and often stop at random moments to say thanks.
The holiday, for us, is not only about the food, although that certainly occupies space at the table. We don't go bonkers for the whole turkey thing. We'd rather see turkeys strutting through rows of corn out in the countryside somewhere.
We do enjoy a heapin' helpin' of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole though. And pumpkin pie, of course.
It's not only about the togetherness. Our little family hangs tight, getting together often, thanks to our close proximity of residence. Our boys are still frequent visitors to the "Humstead" for a weekend breakfast or for help (theirs or ours) on projects of various sorts - and they know they are always welcome to stop by for a minute or an hour, anytime.
If the boys weren't around, we would probably go the annual Community Thanksgiving at Hudson's. What a grand idea for togetherness!
We agreed the true beauty of Thanksgiving is that it's like Christmas without all the pressure. No decorating with lights everywhere. No outside greenery is brought inside and laden with trinkets dangling from its branches. And no gifts!
There are no Thanksgiving carols to be heard incessantly on the radio and in stores six months prior.
There are no Thanksgiving parties that we feel compelled to attend several nights a week, lest feelings are hurt.
We don't have to wear particularly ugly sweaters to celebrate Thanksgiving. It's perfectly fine to do so, but it's not necessary.
Thanksgiving is great for a lot of us with a steady day job, because we usually get both Thursday and Friday off! It's like a bonus holiday, plus it takes us right into the weekend.
Thanksgiving is at the end of November so it's usually pretty chilly, even in the South. So we tend to stay in our houses. For many, it's when we break out the hot cocoa and cozy blankets for the first time.
There's something about Thanksgiving as a whole that just says "warmth."
We used to travel to visit other family members (usually parents and grandparents) over Thanksgiving. Now, however, it seems traffic has gotten so heavy that it feels unsafe to venture too far. We now prefer to time our visits in "off-peak" times, like the end of January, or mid-October.
I continued to ponder after my early bird husband made his way down the hall to turn in for the night. About 10 minutes later, he came back into the living room and just stood there until I acknowledged him.
"I was chilly," he said, "so I put on this plaid flannel shirt over my T-shirt. I'm wearing a different color plaid fuzzy pajama pants. Look at these socks. Nothing matches."
I had already noticed his "evening" apparel.
"This is what Thanksgiving feels like," he said. "Nothing matches, but it doesn't matter. Nobody cares what I look like, how I'm dressed. I'm at home, I'm warm, and I'm comfortable. You're here and you're comfortable. Thanksgiving is comfortable."
I think he nailed it.
Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving, wherever and however you are most comfortable.