Thanksgiving is a strange holiday. We talk about being grateful, but the day seems devoted to gorging ourselves on more food than we need followed by shopping for as much stuff as we can get for as little money as possible. We complain about family, travel, and weight gain. What we do not do, it seems, is find ways to be grateful.

I say "find ways to be," because gratitude ought to be an activity, not just a feeling. It's perhaps because we treat it like a feeling that it holds so little influence over us. I don't know. What I do know is that it is an opportunity to shed, however briefly, our sense of entitlement, our resentments over things we don't have, and to redefine what it is we want during this season. More things? Newer things? Better things? Or something more?

Image from Dishing
Having said this, I do want to mention that food traditions are among my favorite of all traditions. There's a comfort to the consistency of Thanksgiving. The trouble comes when appreciating the flavors of the season becomes an exercise in gluttony. I, for one, plan on exerting a little self control this year. Not for the sake of restraint (I'm not very good at that), but to appreciate flavor. Both on the table and - at the risk of sounding cheesy - in life.

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