Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Friend Speaks Of Thanksgiving

Excerpt from a conversation explaining Thanksgiving Day to a non-American colleague:

FRIEND: "REALLY, so there are NO presents at all? You just have a big dinner, think and talk about all the things you are 'thankful' for and enjoy the company of family and friends?"
ME: "Yes, we do. And of course there is football and the many people who do special [non-paid, I had to specify non-paid to her] volunteer work serving and preparing Thanksgiving Dinners and helping out in other ways at Soup Kitchens, churches and charities on the day and the entire week before so that others that are less fortunate get a helping hand to have a Happy Thanksgiving."

FRIEND: "So Americans really have an entire holiday that is only about giving thanks for what they have and spending time with family and friends?"
ME: "Yes, we do. Giving thanks for what you have and helping other is very important."

FRIEND: "Wow, I never heard of a holiday like that. You mean there really aren't any presents??? You actually have an entire holiday that's about helping and very thankful?"
ME: "Yes."

FRIEND: "So, is it bigger or more important than Christmas?"
ME: "Well [after making my way through this conversation] Yes. I think it is bigger and more important to Christmas. For starters EVERYBODY celebrates it. It has no religious affiliation. It is the biggest Family Day, everyone goes to either family or friends and most people are involved in some kind of charity either on the day or in preparation for it. Everybody, no matter what religion they are, sit around their table and give thanks on that day. And yes, there are no presents. Because it's not about getting, it's about giving. All of this means it is both bigger and more important than Christmas."
(By my friend Daria Walsh)