Thanksgiving means different things to each of us based on our family of origin. We know that Thanksgiving reflects what Americans have to be thankful for. This is especially important following a year of turmoil in the US and around the world.
Americans don't realize how fortunate we are in this country, even with today's inflation. We might have to change how we spend out money but chances are we will have enough to eat and stay warm. That's better than the Ukrainians who don't have heat and lack adequate water and food. Or today's immigrants from Afghanistan, Haiti or all the countries represented by the people at our southern border.
We all have family traditions around Thanksgiving and other holidays we celebrate. This year Americans are returning to old, familiar traditions. It might also be time to add new traditions that reflect what our changing world and what we're learning about ourselves, our families, our country and the world we live in.
Thanksgiving Reflects What's Important in Our Lives
We need to remember. We also want to consider how thanksgiving reflects what's most meaningful in our lives now because ordinary things have taken on new importance.
- Our family – including those we live with and extended family we invite to celebrate holidays with.
- Our health – as I hope you and your family have weathered the pandemic safely.
- Our friends – who we've learned to talk to on the phone, Skype, Zoom or gosh, the kids digital games now have chat capability too. But nothing takes the place of face-to-face interaction … and don't forget the hugs.
- Our homes – where we're spending a lot more time working at home, home schooling, cooking instead of eating out and so much more.
- Our jobs – so we can maintain our lifestyle as never before have Americans faced the economic threats experienced during the pandemic. Unfortunately a lot of people haven't been so fortunate and hopefully we can help them.
- Front-line workers – who are still critical today. We depend on them and while it might not be Covid, kids are getting a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the flu is impacting the health system more than usual. Too often we take these people for granted and now we know who they are … so lets thank them!
- Your support team – including those who mow the lawn, clean the pool and more. Maybe you've held off with help cleaning your home until it's safe again. This might be the perfect time for every family member to take over new chores.
- Your community services – that create the environment you want to live in, including the library, community center, parks and yes, your favorite restaurants and stores.
The Giving in Thanksgiving
When you compare the house you live in today, to how others live around the world, you realize you're living in luxury. Hopefully you've not had to make too many sacrifices during the pandemic and inflation that's followed. Remember that millions of people living with food insecurity today and consider helping others where you can.
That's why we want to remember what the name Thanksgiving reflects … “giving”. It's up to us to share what's good in our lives and help make this holiday better for someone else. Giving isn't hard or expensive. My friend told me last night she took half her pumpkin pie over to an elderly neighbor's home knowing they wouldn't have much for Thanksgiving dinner.
So here ways you can help those in your community who are food insecure due to illness, loss of a job, inflation or … whatever you feel Thanksgiving reflects this year.
- Feeding America – is an amazing organization. They're able to turn a donation of $1 into $9 worth of food. They have 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries. You can volunteer time, donate or try their gifts that fight hunger.
- Food for the Poor – is similar to FeedingAmerica. They also build new homes and provide cement for foundations, install windows plus furnishings that help turn a house into a home … in the Caribbean and Latin America.
- EPA is helping too – with their focus on reducing food waste by channeling it to hungry people. There are also new startups like ImperfectFoods that are delivering perfectly healthy (not pretty) foods to your home, to reduce food waste.
Wishing you a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving!