Giving thanks, no turkey necessary



Column by Alex Risen. E-mail [email protected].

Remember Thanksgiving?

Behind all of the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, there’s a national holiday somewhere. In fact, there’s a holiday that’s been around for a long time.

On Dec. 26, 1941, then President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill. That bill passed into law the national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.

But inking the holiday into an annual national celebration isn’t the point. It could’ve been made the second Wednesday or third Tuesday in a completely different month, but the real meaning would remain the same: allowing us the time to give thanks for everything we have.

Just a few days ago, I was able to go home and spend time with my family; I was able to spend time with the people that love and care for me the most. I think the few days away from school, homework and assignments afforded me an opportunity to truly look at what was important to me.

Even though we’ve been through some difficult times in the recent past, my family has stuck together. That’s what family is supposed to do after all, right?

Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce bury us without words. Football and movies keep us occupied for the rest of the day and night. But when I manage to say something other than a comment on the game or movie, my parents listen.

“I love being home,” I said at the end of the night as we were cleaning the kitchen.

My parents didn’t say anything, but they didn’t have to. I could see it in my mother’s eyes. My one line said more than a “thank you” ever could; my mother’s eyes said more than a “you’re welcome” ever could.

Thanksgiving isn’t about the food and football. There’s something understated about the simplicity of the day. It isn’t about the early openings of stores; the openings which now have crept their way into the holiday itself. There shouldn’t be any openings or any more distractions than there already are on Thanksgiving.

Isn’t the point of the day to relax and enjoy the company of those who love us most?  With all of the cooking, cleaning and television watching, we barely have enough time to talk as it is.  Why does a store need to open at 10 p.m. or midnight? 5 a.m. wasn’t early enough?

Spending time with one another while shopping can certainly be entertaining, but it isn’t necessary. Let’s just take the day off.  We’re supposed to have been doing so since 1941.

So take a day to give thanks for your loved ones.  Whether or not you had the chance last Thursday, just take a day and give thanks.

Remember Thanksgiving.