I feel sorry for Thanksgiving. It's a great holiday. So unique, so North American, so full of mashed potatoes and gravy.
It's such a warm and fuzzy holiday that bridges the gap between the Christian idea of giving a shout out to God for putting food on our plates and the Pagan practice of recognizing the sun and the earth and the rain for working together to provide a bountiful harvest.
It's about the original dwellers of this land accepting the newcomers, and working through our differences to try and live together. I like that. But poor, poor Thanksgiving, it's been the middle child for a long time, and it's just getting worse. Thanksgiving is stuck between Halloween and Christmas, in a competition for the holiday spotlight that has gotten so intense, that Thanksgiving just gets lost in the middle.
And I think that's just wrong.
Don't misunderstand me. I love Halloween and Christmas, but I dislike the fact that the winter holidays have become so commercialized, with every retailer depending on their entire year going into the black by selling massive quantities of stuff to us consumers to give away to each other. In order to do this, retailers have pushed up the "Shopping Season" (just calling it what it is) to butt up against Halloween instead of politely waiting until Thanksgiving is over.
Well, today I am giving Thanksgiving its due. In fact, I'm challenging you, reader, to do your best to celebrate Thanksgiving, to even celebrate Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas, in a way that won't cost you a dime.
Here’s your challenge: Discover the things you're grateful for in your life and express it. Not just here (although I welcome your comments). Express it to those who deserve to know it in a thank you note extolling their virtues and singing their praises. Then wrap these little notes up with a ribbon and give them as as personalized holiday gifts that I guarantee will mean so much more to the recipient than a tin of peppermint bark or a hat & scarf set.
These simple, yet significant acts of grace could be the most meaningful gift you ever give.
OK, get to writing those thank you notes!
And while you're at it, please enjoy these songs of gratitude on Grooveshark.
- Louis Armstrong - Thankful
- Dido - Thank You
- Kelly Clarkson - Thankful
- Jonny Lang - Thankful
- Delbert McClinton - I Wanna Thank You
- Mavis Staples - I Wanna Thank You
- India.Arie - Thankful
- Natalie Merchant - Kind & Generous
- Bob Marley - Give Thanks & Praise
- Shaggy - Thank You Lord
- Michael Franti - Thank You
- Edwin Starr & Blinky - I'm So Thankful
- Bonnie Raitt - I Thank You
- Ruthie Foster - Thanks For The Joy
- Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - I'm Thankful
- Sly & The Family Stone - Thankful N' Thoughtful
- Natalie Cole - Be Thankful
- Elton John - All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful)
- Bing Crosby - Thanks
- Ashanti - Thank You
- Raffi - Thanks A Lot
Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She's the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can't imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.