“We should be painful for the things we love”

“We should be painful for the things we love.”

He meant “thankful”, of course, but was he wrong?

I started thinking about the holiday season and the inevitable pile of angst that it dumps on me like a steaming load of manure. Wonder what to get and for whom. Ponder if there’s anyone we can skip this year. Debate the relative merits of sending cards versus email notes. Rush around. Spend money (lots of it and mostly on stuff that won’t get used by the recipient). Rush some more. Curse Dominick the Donkey. Spend more money. Rush more just for good measure. And for what? A 20 minute cyclone of gift wrap and cardboard boxes followed by an epic case of exhaustion.

I don’t care for it.

But I started thinking about why Thanksgiving always seem to top my list of favorite holidays. It’s not the turkey, I rarely eat it. It’s not really the food at all, although it plays a part.

It’s the beautiful simplicity of it. Thanksgiving. Be thankful. Appreciate your life and the people in it. Beautiful. It’s secular, so it welcomes everyone. There are no invented characters involved, designed to sell me or my children anything we don’t need. It’s a day to get together with the people we love to share a meal and share ourselves.

For my family, there’s a gathering of some of my siblings and their children, some other family, and a handful of good friends. We usually net around 20 people. We talk, we reminisce, we stuff ourselves silly, talk some more and stumble home in our blissful turkey comas.

All of the goodness of the holidays with none of the drama. I love it.

But, as Buddy said, “We should be painful for the things we love.” And everyone I love seems obsessed with the holidays.

As such, I will, in spite of my misgivings, try my hardest to be sporty about the holidays. I will purchase the gifts, and wrap them. I will wonder whether the recipient will like it. I will stress about the expense. I will loathe the rushing around. I will put up a tree that will get knocked down (I just bought the world’s ugliest pre-lit artificial tree. It is baby blue. It was $20. I love it.). I will hang ornaments on it that will get broken by the children or smashed by the cats. I will mail cards to the people I wish I saw more often. I will smile my bestest smile, and secretly wish that every holiday was Thanksgiving.

Hope you all enjoy Thanksgiving with the people you love best.

I know I will.

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