As Thanksgiving arrives tomorrow, and we gather around the table with friends and family, I have to ask myself again this year, “(Carol) What are you thankful for?”
Thanksgiving seems to be the holiday that really kicks off everyone’s holiday spirit. We put a great deal of effort into this one annual meal – from developing the menu, navigating through early holiday traffic to get to the store across town that has that special cinnamon blend for the pie, creating invites and gathering RSVPs, making plans via planes, trains and automobiles so we can physically be close to our loved ones. Then, as the meal commences, we typically give a ceremonial “thanks” to those present at the dinner table, and then focus on gobbling up every delicious morsel within one square inch of our plates. And, if you’re like my family, there’s a lot of delicious food to be really thankful for! After the meal, many of us fall into a post-feast snooze, dreaming of the silver bells of Christmas…and, this year, perhaps an (early)-early-Black Friday sprint. (For the record, I think Thanksgiving should be sacred time and retailers should not dangle the consumer-carrot on this day!) I enjoy the Thanksgiving meal ritual very much, but over the years, I’ve found that I don’t have to wait another 364 days to express my heartfelt thanks to those in my life.
Through this blog, my website, and my upcoming book, The Shared-Meal Revolution, I want to help all of us grow richer in the ways that matter – relationships and connection – with those we love. Sharing a meal with someone in your circle each day provides you with a valuable and meaningful way to give thanks every day. Just by carving out an hour or so each day (and giving the Blackberry or iPhone a nap while you’re at the dinner table) you are showing the action of thanking the one you are with. This year, as many past, I’m thankful for the people in my life, and not the things. As the survivors of Hurricane Sandy have shared, “possessions come and go, but people…that’s what counts”.
So, please, take a moment this holiday season to think about how you can give ‘thanks’ to another by sharing a meal each day — over a simple cup of soup, or a sandwich, or whatever you choose. There’s no need to have a full-out extravaganza, such as a holiday meal, to realize the benefits or to make it feel ‘special’. It will be special for the simple fact that you are making it happen!
If you follow my recommendation and practice a shared-meal ritual with those you love, I assure you, you will be thanking yourself from here until next Thanksgiving Day 2013 (and beyond…!)
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, everyone!