In case you are just now joining us (or in case you haven’t been paying attention), I love holidays. All of them. I used to say Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday, until I realized I was saying every day was my favorite holiday (though to be completely accurate, it’s technically Valentine’s Day, as previously articulated) and thus I couldn’t call it my favorite holiday anymore. But it need not be my very favorite for me to have many reasons to adore it.
Firstly, it’s a holiday that isn’t really celebrated all day. On Christmas, you start as soon as possible. On your birthday you do the same. The celebration involved on Thanksgiving is inseparable from the event involved (i.e., the food), thus making it concentrated. It’s a 3 hour window, so you better use it. Second, at least in my family, it’s pretty transient. My family is scattered literally from coast to coast, so however many of us can gather for it varies from year to year. It’s the easiest to invite a friend to (because apparently some people feel “intrusive” when invited over for Christmas??? but not Thanksgiving???), and I wish all holidays were more friend-friendly, because I am constantly looking for nonchalant ways to get as many people that I love as possible into the same room at the same time to do the same thing. Third, and perhaps best of all, Thanksgiving is the least disappointing holiday. As a person who lives in a nearly perpetual state of heightened expectation, I can attest to the Christmas Eves and Halloweens (and, weirdly 4ths of July) that have gone by slightly less adorned than hoped for. But Thanksgiving is simple, no trappings or high stakes. You are simply asked to come eat at the table with as many people as you can find, and to call what is blessed by its proper name.
In my planner, there is a designated section to write down the sundry gratitudes of any given week. There is never enough room. And so, I am making a list of what I am grateful for on Thanksgiving Day, because running parallel to my love of celebration is my love of cheesiness and leaning in. I’m trying to limit myself only to what I presently find myself grateful for, as I would surely drive both you and I insane if I tried any time period outside the present.
1. Swiss army knives, for when you move into a new apartment and lack most kitchen appliances
2. Lady Bird. Haven’t seen it yet, but know I’m grateful.
3. friends, family, and kindred spirits smattered from coast to coast
4. Stranger Things 2
5. walking home at midnight down my street and feeling safe
6. meeting angels in grocery stores
7. Anton Chekhov
9. the new Taylor Swift album (haters back off)
11. that the farthest I have to walk to get water is to my refrigerator
12. the use of my legs
13. slats to hold my bed aloft
14. my janky window that lets the breeze come in from the alley
15. that I’m not working today
17. the peppermint milkshake at Chick-fil-A
18. that God already knows everything there is to know about me, but still wants me to tell him
19. emails from my uncle
20. Spotify (zero percent irony – my day-to-day life would be significantly altered by its absence)
21. the fact that being sad about losing something generally means you had it to begin with
25. savory hand pies
26. that it is genuinely possible to take a break from your own life
28. that sometimes I do the wrong thing and so far it hasn’t caused me to die
30. my own imagination
31. progress, no matter how slow, no matter the measure
33. that there is a gap in my planner from August 5 to October 13
35. nightgowns, bathrobes, and generally all garments that have to do with sleeping and comfort
36. that I didn’t completely ruin my computer when I spilled water all over it
38. Love Actually (it’s so weird, why am I always so excited to watch it?)
39. Trader Joe’s.
I am grateful that the sum of my weaknesses is not the whole. I am grateful that there are days marked for gratefulness, days marked for mourning. I am grateful that there truly is a time and a season for everything, and that the next one is only ever just outside my line of vision. For the record, I’d love to know what you’re grateful for, too. And I’m sure there are at least 3 important things I’m grateful for that I’ve forgotten to write down – isn’t that great?!