Giving Thanks, Eh?

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. As I sit at the kitchen table catching up on my social media obsession as I do every Sunday morning, (Monday morning on this long weekend) I see post upon post of friends and strangers sharing their thanks for various things in their lives. It made me stop and wonder if this is a holiday like Valentines’ Day where we are forced to stop and actually think about what is important in our lives? Granted Valentine’s Day feels more contrived by our hunger for consumerism, where as Thanksgiving seems to make people take note of what they are thankful for. It is a nice reminder to have to stop and really think, but shouldn’t we be thankful all year around? Why does it take a long weekend to make us really stop and take note? Or is it just the time where we feel obligated to voice why we are thankful? It is wonderful to read happiness and gratitude spread across social media in lieu of the normal grumblings and complaints I seem to find more and more of, but why does it seem we need a holiday to force us to spend time with loved ones and share a meal together?

Gone are the days when meal times were every weekday at 5pm when the family sat down at the table and discussed the events of the day and Sunday dinners seem to only happen 3 times a year on the “big” holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). I’m not saying all families have moved away from family meal times completely but with more and more double income families, more activities for the children and faster paced lives, brings sacrifice. Meal times are not the centre of the day and are usually rushed among work, school, dance, soccer, hockey and homework. Food has become simply a necessity to sustain life, not a time to slow down, talk and remember what we are all grateful for in our daily lives. Those conversations happen on the walk home from school, in the car on the way to and from after school activities and on the way to bed. Communication happens as small snippets of time just as running into the house and shoving food in our mouths happens so quickly.

Maybe we need long weekends and holidays to allow us to slow down and not feel guilty about taking a few hours instead of a few minutes to reconnect with family and friends. The smell of turkey can linger, dishes can wait, homework can be done later, work can stay at the office and activities can become playing in the fallen leaves rather than rushing to the dance studio. Meal time can become what it was when I grew up – a time to talk, connect, laugh and relax. This weekend I am giving thanks for having a weekend to slow down and acknowledge the two things I am most thankful for in my life…



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