As we all approach a season of debt, credit card debt, guilt, obligation and of course, joy, I think we need to educate our children in more meaningful ways of thinking about Thanksgiving and depending on your views, the next big reason to celebrate. What is actually left of them? We’ve all been succored into believing that the larger the expenditure, the more the love. Let’s bring it all down to the basics, save money, teach values and end up with the same outcomes only leave out the debt, waste, materialism and gluttony. While materialism and gluttony have always been attractive to me, they have not served me well as I sit at my annual rummage sales in pants another size larger.
First, let’s take on Thanksgiving. Pull the word apart and the mandate is clear. Thank somebody for something. Whether your thanks take you back to religious roots or you simply take some time to show appreciation to someone who has made a positive difference in your life, let's keep it simple. We’ve gotten to the point where it becomes a day of high culinary, emotional and familial expectations. Memories of Thanksgivings past will be made.
Since the core of a good Thanksgiving experience is an atmosphere of serenity, reflection, and now low-fat gravy and pie, it seems we could keep that while losing the great American love of excess. Some people find it in others, some on their own. The meal doesn’t have to take 36 hours from thawing to toothpick. Maybe those who call Thanksgiving “Turkey Day” are the most honest of all. In that case, go for it. Start the preparations now.
If you say Thanksgiving is about family, then make it about family. Tell family stories, look at photos or videos, talk about the future, your family member’s goals or hopes. Have some fun together, feel sad for those no longer there and put food in parentheses.
If religion is your focus, ask yourself WWJD? on Thanksgiving. Maybe now, with our economic problems we can not only reconsider the role of government and the governing, but we can reconsider living within our means without being ashamed of it. Start small.
Maybe with a Cornish hen.