I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday because food. And wine. And being surrounded by my family. And sitting on the couch watching football. While drinking wine. And the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. While drinking wine. I mean coffee.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about shopping or sales or going out for Black Friday.
Nope, I boycott. I’m taking back Thanksgiving, and here’s why.
(This is a post I wrote for my personal facebook page in 2011. I have changed parts of it so it’s updated to reflect how things are today. Otherwise my thoughts on Black Friday and taking back Thanksgiving have remained the same).
This week, as we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday, people everywhere are getting together with family and friends to celebrate. This is my favorite holiday- a time to be with my family, cook good food, watch football and enjoy time away from the stresses of everyday life for a couple of days.
The past couple of years have not been the easiest for my family. We have witnessed loved ones fighting life-threatening illness with some thankfully recovering and others, sadly and tragically, losing their struggle and passing away with their family surrounding them. Any one of these situations could be enough to make one feel they do not have much to be thankful for. However, it is in these times of tragic loss and unimaginably painful struggles that I have come to realize how much I have to be thankful for.
I have a family that supports and loves one another. There was never a moment that our family lost sight of what was important- which was being together and continuing to forge happy memories, even in times of sadness. Because, as they say, life goes on. And when you have young ones running about, you can’t help but to have joy and happiness as part of your life.
I have amazing friends. Let me stress the AMAZING. You know who you are- Bridget and Mike and Michael and Kaitie and Andrew and Meghan and Jamie and Rich and Merritt and Karl and Pew and Vir and Laurie and Amy and Steve and Molly and Daniel and MEF and Tim and Lacey. Any one of them would drop and run to my side (and many of them have!) if I needed them, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I have a wonderful husband and 2 joyful little girls that I come home to every day. They hve made me smile and laugh in times where I have felt I don’t have much to smile and laugh about.
And while Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I feel it is being cut short. No sooner than the turkey is cut than stores are opening for holiday shopping sales. People are leaving family gatherings to go stand in lines at stores to buy things. Stuff. Gadgets. Instead of staying and spending valuable time with family, they are going out to buy their family stuff. I would love to buy time- wrap it up in a box and give it to all my family members and friends who I don’t see enough or to those who have left us that I would do anything to spend some extra time with. But I can’t.
Instead, I am staying home and giving my family my time. And then I am making contributions to the people that have helped to provide care and support to my family and friends, giving us more time to spend with them, and for making the time they had here, even if too short, filled with love.
To the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Scottsdale Healthcare Center in Arizona. They took amazing care of my sister in law when she was on bed rest, took wonderful care of Camden and Calie after they were born, and provided the much needed support to my brother and sister in law when Camden passed away. They continue to forge a wonderful relationship with my brother’s family so that their little girl will always be remembered. They are truly heroic.
To the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network- in memory of my good friend’s father and now to a close family friend, both whom lost their battle with cancer.
To the Dana Farber Pediatric Cancer Institute in Boston, where there is an Evan T. Mandeville DIPG Foundation- my nephew lost his battle with DIPG last fall and during his treatment the Dana Farber Pediatric Cancer Institute took incredible care of him and his whole family. Now, through donations from their participation in the PanMass Challenge, his family has created a foundation so that all their donations go directly to DIPG research, a rare and devastating pediatric brain cancer.
To George Washington Hospital. They gave my family the greatest gift. We continue to be grateful that our family is still all together.
In the meantime, I will not be going shopping on Black Friday. Or that entire weekend, for that matter. I am going to stay with my family and watch my daughters make their Grandbill laugh and their Grammy smile, and their daddy chuckle. I will skype with my brother and nieces and call my aunts and uncles. I will fill up my weekend with family hugs- there will be no time for shopping. Yep, I’m taking back Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hug your kids. Call your family. Tell everyone you love that you love them. It’s never too much.