After spending the weekend with family in Connecticut for the past few days, I’m back in Vermont and gearing up for Thanksgiving. As a kid, I was never a huge fan of Thanksgiving. It always felt like the opening act before the real show began for Christmas. And back when I was a kid, when I was locked into the Santa tracker and legitimately thought he was eating cookies and drinking milk at every home in the world, Christmas was probably my favorite holiday going. Waking up on Christmas morning as a kid was as good as it gets. And then as I got older, the excitement and the party that surrounded New Years Eve (aka Phish at Madison Square Garden) probably put that atop the leaderboard.
But as life goes on, especially the past few years, I’ve started to really appreciate the simplicity and the spirit around Thanksgiving. It’s a time to reflect and to give thanks for all of the things you likely take for granted on a daily basis. Family, friends, pets, health – the list goes on and on. But it’s also a time to think about and consider the people who are going through a particularly tough time. When our mom passed away, we held her funeral on the Monday before Thanksgiving, which is today. It’s a day I will obviously never forget, but the feeling I carried with me that whole week is something that also stands out. In that moment, I really felt like I had nothing to be thankful for. I was robbed of more time with my mom and it made me really upset. And it has taken a while to get to a place where I feel like I can be thankful again. But as time goes on, you realize you’re not alone in those struggles and that a lot of other people carry a similar weight around this time of year. Its been 4 years since she has passed and I’m often reminded of how much life can change at the drop of a hat.
As you get older and go through the ups and downs that life presents to you, certain events change their meaning. I don’t necessarily look forward to dressing up on Halloween anymore. But especially in the last few years, I’ve come to appreciate the essence and intent of Thanksgiving. An intentional day set aside, where many people have work off, to specifically share it with people you love. There’s a simplicity that comes with the nature of Thanksgiving. The whole day mainly consists of the preparing, the eating and the digesting of large amounts of food. Football is on the TV, music is playing, and theres no other expectation for the day other than to take a nap in between meals in hopes of creating more space. But this year, I’m challenging myself to actually give more to those who are feeling less thankful this week. Rather than just writing down a few bullet points of what I’m thankful for, I want to do more for those going through hard times this year. Whether its donating meals, clothing, or simply calling someone you know who is going through a tough time, it will make a difference to someone out there that needs it.
I’ve added a link to places in Chittenden County that you can food and other items to. If you feel so inclined, these places will be accepting donations through Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great week of festivities, but more importantly, try to do one nice thing for someone out there this week. It could be a stranger, a family member or a friend, but do something nice for someone.