You have to feel sorry for Thanksgiving.
Every year, those Christmas decorations seem to show up earlier and earlier. You ever noticed how quickly we go from pumpkins and skeletons to fake trees and inflatable Santas?
Once upon a time, Thanksgiving OWNED November. But ever since it conceded Black Friday, it's been losing ground to the big December holidays.
And now, thanks to COVID-19, things have gotten even worse.
Thanksgiving has been downsized.
Health experts are advising people not to travel or gather in large groups. Families have canceled their holiday plans. They're staying put, scaling back and leaving all of those extra folding chairs in the garage for another year.
For anyone worried that they'll miss out on traditional family arguments or awkward conversations about politics, sports and religion... there's always Zoom.
Of course, a group video call isn't the same thing as sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at the dining room table. Being together is what makes Thanksgiving special. Nothing beats a house full of family.
Then again, we've all had Thanksgivings when a mute button would've come in handy.
This year, thanks to technology, you actually get one.
You can use it when Uncle Gary launches into his fishing boat story. Use it whenever somebody says, "I read this great article on Facebook..."
You get the idea.
Next week, my wife and I will be setting the table for two. It's definitely not the kind of holiday I hoped for, but it's still Thanksgiving.
Yes, it will feel different. There will be fewer leftovers. But ultimately, it doesn't matter where we are, what we do or who shows up...
It's Thanksgiving as long as we include the two most important ingredients: GRAVY and GRATITUDE.
Keep in mind that when I say "gravy," I'm not talking about the lumpy brown stuff.
For me, "gravy" is the red sauce that my Italian mother made from scratch and poured over homemade pasta, meatballs and bread. In my house, you can't call it Thanksgiving if there is no marinara.
Maybe you prefer the stuff that goes better with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes? More power to you. Whatever floats your gravy boat.
My gravy connects me to family, memories and traditions. Thanksgiving without gravy is just another Thursday dinner.
As for gratitude? That's the main course.
I mean no disrespect to turkeys, chickens, hen, hams, ducks, geese, turduckens and tofurkeys, but if you don't make room on your Thanksgiving table for gratitude... you're kind of missing the point.
Giving thanks is easy to do and it doesn't cost a thing.
Even better? Giving thanks is good for you.
Scientific studies have shown that practicing gratitude actually changes your brain. It reduces stress and improves your health. Counting your blessings makes you a happier human being.
That’s a pretty big deal.
It's also good to know that after such a rough year, we can do something good for ourselves and everybody else by simply saying "Thank You."
Thank you to those who have helped us through hard times.
Thank you for moms, meatballs and memories of holidays past.
And thank you for an unconventional Thanksgiving, which just might give us a new appreciation of togetherness, family and how good it feels to not have to listen to Uncle Gary talk for twenty minutes with his mouth full.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Take care of yourself, take care of others and thanks for reading!
Director of Economic Development