My fantasy: In the run-up to Halloween, I see Halloween decorations with an orange and black color scheme. After Halloween I see Thanksgiving decorations with turkeys and autumn leaves with an orange and brown color scheme. Only after Thanksgiving do I see the red and green of Christmas and all the other trappings: decorated trees, candy canes, and holiday lights.
It’s a fantasy, as we all know. Chain stores put their Christmas merchandise in the aisles just before Halloween, which was about the same time the Hallmark channel started showing their Christmas romances. Is Hallmark any more jaded than any other channel? Uh, no. Ads featuring cars with huge bows – are they Audis? – have been running for a few weeks already.
Okay, I’ve gotten my grumpiness off my chest. We’re all multi-taskers these days. Why not also be multi-holiday decorators and celebrators? And the good news: today is the day after which all the Christmas decorations I see will be season appropriate.
I love Thanksgiving.
But more than just because it crosses the threshold from multi-holiday decorations to a single one.
Thanksgiving is the Gratitude holiday. It brings out the best in us.
I’m a supporter of the Rescue Mission in Durham, North Carolina. Some years ago I volunteered my time there. I was told they need money more. Okay, then. Now I send them checks at random times during the year. At Thanksgiving it’s really easy to write the check.
I’m spending Thanksgiving in Orlando. I come here often. When I arrive, my friend, Gail, picks me up at the airport, and we have now developed the routine of going to The Hideaway, a dive on Virginia Avenue, for drinks and quesadillas. By the way, I mean ‘dive’ as a compliment. Their website bills their venue as a “no frills” sports bar. This works, too, as a description.
Last week when I arrived, we went to The Hideaway, as usual. I noticed handwritten signs posted around the joint:
Thanksgiving: Open @ 7:00 am. Free meal @ 2:00 pm. Covered dishes welcome.
Nothing fancy. No big deal. But exactly right.
Why is the idea of free meals on Thanksgiving so natural?
I got the answer to that question last week at the Know Your Value event hosted by Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. It was a one-day symposium, held at one of the fancy hotels down by Disney, devoted to empowering women to express their worth in business and in life.
Note: See my blog Know Your Value.
Among the women on the program were Martha Stewart, Emme, and Rachel Ray. All three were bright spots, Rachel Ray in particular. She spoke about the influence of her mother who ran restaurants while she was growing up, how her family always met for meals even if it couldn’t happen until 10 in the evening, and how she wants her approach to cooking to be available to any person at any income level.
I was impressed when she said how her upbringing helped her when she was first starting out. She had maybe $40 a week for food, but knew she would be just fine on that budget, because she knew how to use it properly. She had confidence she could take care of herself, and this confidence empowered her.
At one moment she answered my question about the naturalness of free meals at Thanksgiving when she said,
“You feel like you have more if you share it.”
So simple. So true.
I hope you have people you can share your food with so that you, too, can have the experience of abundance. Before I go downtown to the holiday buffet at the Grand Bohemian with some friends, I’ve got a check to write.
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This post was written by Julie Andresen