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What happened to Thanksgiving?

Those are the words that my assistant, Linda said to me at the end of the day.

“What happened to Thanksgiving?” She commented that everywhere she shopped (even before Halloween), all the stores were featuring Christmas decorations!

I know the feeling. It seems even before one holiday ends, the stores have already moved onto the next “Hallmark” holiday. This weekend I noticed the Christmas decorations were up at my local Costco (and they were handing out shopping flyers for “black Friday.”)

But, I’d like to ask you to pause and think about what Thanksgiving stands for. To me, it’s a time to truly give thanks. Thanks for having food on our table. For having family and friends who accept us for who we are. For having jobs or companies that we love and support us.

I find Thanksgiving a special and memorable holiday. It’s the one time during the year that I get to cook my favorite foods, try out new recipes and astonish my 25 family and friends by proving that I do have time to cook and remember how! Like most of us, my weekly schedule is packed with meetings, dinners, and other obligations that make it a bit of an inconvenience to cook a nice meal and sit down to dinner together.

So, once a year, I devote myself to creating a menu of long-time favorites combined with a few culinary surprises that I’ve never tried before. My family starts dinner at the early hour of 4pm, and everyone hangs around for 5 or 6 hours eating, nibbling and catching up. A few years ago, we started the tradition of having our family dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which means everyone can go to their other family functions and relax on Saturday evening at our house.

For some, Thanksgiving is a hassle. You either have to set up your house for a large number of dinner guests, or you have to prepare food so you can go to someone else’s house. You have to change your eating habit for the day, as most Thanksgiving feasts are between lunch and dinner time. If you’re a college student, you are happy that you get a break from school, but it’s a hectic weekend to come home.

I challenge you to look at this year’s Thanksgiving as a time to reflect, give thanks and enjoy. Stop and enjoy this holiday. Don’t rush into Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

Find some traditional foods and recipes to enjoy. Do something as a family. And if you don’t have family, then do something with your friends and neighbors.

Don’t worry, all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season will be waiting for you. I guarantee it!


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