If you are an American, you can get on with your turkey and your football and skip over this one if you like. I'm writing it for the readers abroad who might be wondering what, precisely, we get up to on this Thursday in November. (Canadians already know, but they're smart enough to do it in October so they can have turkey for Thanksgiving AND Christmas because in two months you really are ready to feast all over again.) Anyway, if you are one of the many lovely global readers of the blog, you might not know that Thanksgiving is the BEST American holiday of them all. SERIOUSLY. The Fourth of July is lovely--very patriotic, lots of cookouts and fireworks--but, and I say this with a furtive glance over my shoulder because I live in one of the MOST patriotic towns in the country, it is just too hot. And because it's the middle of summer, you can't start a proper fireworks display until LATE, I'm talking ages after you finished your barbecue. It's just awful. You sit on scratchy blankets, oozing sweat and slapping mosquitoes, waiting for the show to begin and wondering if the potato salad was a little OFF.
Thanksgiving is entirely wonderful. First, it's autumn--perhaps my favorite time of year. The air is brisk, the leaves are turning, and it is time to put on a sweater. The food is unparalleled--roast turkey with dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and loads of other good things is just happiness on a plate. Then there's the football. Imagine--you get to stuff yourself witless and then lie around watching other people beat the cranberries out of each other. And to top it ALL off, no presents. No special decorating, no cards to send. Nothing but the sentiment of gratitude to share with your nearest and best. (And since I'm convinced that gratitude is the most powerful attitude on earth, it suits me to a T.)
So, if you don't have a nationally legislated holiday to be thankful, make one up for yourself. Pick today or the second Tuesday in March or twelve days after Yom Kippur--whatever makes you happy. And spend that day eating good food with people you love and tallying up all the goodness you have in your life. It will make you feel infinitely rich, I promise. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!