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My Ideal Thanksgiving

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, but I wish we did. A day of reflecting on the things we’re grateful for would be good for us all. (The photo was taken by my friend Barbara Hannay, and is used with permission.)

My ideal Thanksgiving would be non-religious and would be celebrated by people from all cultures and religions, and it would centre around a friends-and-family feast — with no particular style of food.  Of course Americans have their traditional food and their Thanksgiving has a particular history, but in my ideal Thanksgiving people would bring dishes to share, so each feast would be different. And no one person would get stressed about having to cook.  (Though of course if cooking is your thing, go for it. Here’s a thanksgiving feast from an Aussie cook.)

I have no family within a thousand kilometres of me, so my Thanksgiving would be made up of friends, and possibly some strangers. When I was a kid, my older brother (who was an adult) often brought friends without family to our family Christmas. Some were new to this country — I remember a pair of American teachers who came for several Christmases —and a few times he brought a couple of backpackers. It always added to the fun and interest of Christmas, and was very much in the spirit of things. I’d make that part of my ideal Thanksgiving.

Above all, there would be some time in the celebration where we’d each reflect on things we are grateful for. I think that’s such an important thing to do.  I try to do that on a regular basis, and it can make such a difference to how you feel about your day, or about your life. It’s a kind of rebalancing procedure — we might be feeling frustrated and grumpy because of things (and people) encountered that day (or week), but sitting down with a journal (as I do) and listing five things I’m grateful for changes my mood completely. It doesn’t have to be hard — just scrolling through my photos trying to find a few pics to go with this post made me smile so much, so find five things that make you smile and you’re done and feeling happier already.

So that’s my ideal Thanksgiving. What’s yours?
I hope all of you celebrating Thanksgiving (including Canadians who’ve already had theirs) have a happy day.

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