Why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday
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By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” ~
Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday.
After all, any holiday where you can watch football while the lovely ones in your life ply you with food and drink is, by definition, a great holiday in my book.
But it’s also a wonderful holiday for what it is not.It’s not a holiday that comes with an attendant production number, such as the “Christmas season.”
It’s not a holiday of forced sentiment such as Valentine’s Day.
It’s not a holiday that has morphed into an excuse for excess and associated dopey behavior like you see on New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day.
It is not accompanied by a sense of false piety on the part of the clueless or chagrin on the part of the more self-aware that often comes with Easter.
It does not require the purchase of neckties like Father’s Day.
It does not include the use of fireworks, sparklers or any other explosive, flammable or incendiary material as seen on the Fourth of July.
It’s a holiday that hasn’t been ruined by adults who have co-opted it from children and used as an excuse to indulge in ludicrous dress and/or activity like Halloween.
It’s more fun that Arbor Day and less sanctimonious than Earth Day.
Thanksgiving, instead, is a day devoid of pretension, extending over a long weekend and generally associated with hearth and home. It’s like Labor Day, only with a better spread.
Thanksgiving doesn’t force itself upon you and, I think, as a result tends to bring out the better angels in our nature. Should we find ourselves alone, an invitation from others to partake in their family feast appears more heart-felt and has a truer ring of sincerity than a gesture carrying the burden of politesse or obligation.
There is also something humble about this day. It doesn’t glorify or boast — except possibly to a higher power beyond our own capacity to take credit for.
If we were to play “holiday word association,” Thanksgiving would prompt us to respond with adjectives like “warm” or “hearty” or even “quiet.” (Well, “quiet” may only apply once the tryptophan has kicked in and the Lions have lost again.)
Or maybe the most appropriate word is “nice.”
Thanksgiving is nice, and it’s also nice a country like ours developed a home-grown holiday based simply on taking the time — even if it just for a day or even a few moments — to give thanks for what we have, the people around us, the blessings we so often take for granted, the place we live and those — many of whom we have never met — who preceded us and whose shoulders we sleep on this blessed, unassuming day.
Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski