The Giving of Thanks

When this post goes live it will be Thanksgiving Day in the USA. There’s a bunch of traditions around the day, many of them involving eating oneself into a food coma – which, for this particular holiday is a legitimate thing – and the one I find most important, the notion of giving thanks for the good things in one’s life.

Obviously, this is something that shouldn’t be limited to a single day, but having a day specifically devoted to giving thanks is a good thing. The Thanksgiving mythos – starving settlers spared by friendly local tribes and having a big harvest feast together in friendship and of course said settlers being exceedingly thankful for the help – may or may not accurately reflect what actually happened back then, but it’s a good myth to have.

It’s one that says “It’s good to do for those who can’t do for themselves” and at the same time says “Be grateful for what you have and very grateful for those who choose to help you when you need it”. The two combine into a kind of “do unto others” guideline to help those in need because there will certainly be a time when you are in need and may well have someone else help you.

“Pay it forward” comes to mind. So many good things can’t be paid back – the best anyone can do is offer as much help as they can to others who need it.

That said, Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the day, and happy Thursday to those who don’t. May you find pleasure in helping those in need, and may others help you when you find yourselves in need.


  1. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, enjoying foods that have just been harvested while you have surplus, and (for some denominations) hurling epithets at various sports referees and coaches while trying not to spill dessert. And it has nothing to do with any specific religious denomination (aside from American football), which makes it a little unusual among the country’s oldest holidays.

    And it reminds us how lucky/blessed/fortunate we are to live in a place and time like this one. (Special thanks to the utility crews who were dealing with a blown transformer last night not far from RedQuarters.)

    1. Dwarf chickens (they are from a farm in America, not Cornwall, and they are raised domestically, so not game – and those two lies makes me doubt they are even female). That way everyone gets to carve!

    1. Pfft. We’re only “late” because y’all are so cold up there your harvest time comes earlier. (Completely ignoring that I live in the northern part of the US so there’s not really that much difference)

  2. As a joke, during our Thanksgiving dinner I commented that according to the Media, we were meant to be having arguments over political disagreements. To which my family just laughed, and my daughter (14) spouted a bunch of gibberish about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict that was strangely spot on.

    I was impressed. I had no idea she payed attention to that stuff. Then she let us in on the joke. She had just been repeating things that she had heard her Grandmother and I talking about and that she didn’t even know if Palestine was anywhere near Israel for sure.

    1. May I say that one of the things I am thankful for this year is relatives who have the sense not to try to convert anyone to the correct politics at the dinner table?

      1. I started preparing a mini-speech. ‘While we all know my great level of skill and talent at being ugly towards my loved ones, it occurs to me that some of us may need a script to follow instead of relying on their natural ability. For this reason, I have scoured the internet for the best advice on how to talk to your family over the holidays…’ to be followed by a list of the ten most obscure and meaningless federal policy issues I can find or make up.

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