Typically around this time of year, people begin to talk about everything they’re grateful for. Thanksgiving is, by definition, a time to give thanks – to reflect on all you have and love. It’s a holiday I’ve always loved. When I was little it was the parade, and I still dream of one day being in Herald Square on Thanksgiving Day. As I got older, it was the food, and later the football. Most of all, it’s a time I love to spend with my family, and one that’s usually drama-free.
There’s another reason I love it though – Thanksgiving is an American holiday.
To celebrate Thanksgiving, you don’t need to be a certain religion. You don’t need to be a certain color. You don’t need to be a certain gender, age, or military status. You don’t need to come from a certain place. You don’t even need to be here long or at all. Any American can celebrate Thanksgiving, no matter their circumstances, how they got here, or where they came from. While there are traditions, they aren’t required. You can celebrate Thanksgiving however you want. It’s one of the very few that’s universal in our country.
The holidays can be so polarizing. When you live somewhere that’s a melting pot of many different people, you never know what people are celebrating, and it’s often difficult to say the right thing, even with the best of intentions. With different cultures come different traditions. With Thanksgiving, while there are typical traditions, you’re free to celebrate as you see fit. What’s important is not the actual tradition, but the spirit of thankfulness.
So I hope you celebrate. Eat turkey, or lasagna if that’s your thing. Watch the Macy’s parade, or don’t. Play a game of touch football, or donate your time to charity. Spend time traveling to see your family, or stay home and connect with them on Skype. Do whatever it is that you want to do on Thanksgiving.
Just make it a happy one.