Why Thanksgiving is my Favorite Holiday
At the risk of sounding “Scroogey,” I’ll admit I’m not much into holidays anymore. I spent many a yuletide season over the years stressing over perfect gift buying, wrapping, shipping and chaotic holiday travel days. I usually ended the year too sick to enjoy the holidays themselves (it literally affected my health!) and eventually I realized it was becoming a pattern. Time is precious and health can be precarious. So rather than play into the trappings of what I refer to as “Hallmark” holidays, I’ve reached a point in life where I look for and cherish authentic personal connections year-round. I still celebrate holidays too, just in quieter ways. I enjoy exchanging gifts for special occasions, but I prefer to do it at a time and place when it’s most meaningful. And in recent years, my tradition is to go skiing on both Christmas and New Years and be in my happy place surrounded by happy people.
But the one holiday I’m all on board with is Thanksgiving. There are no decorations or gifts to fuss with. It’s not glitzy or commercial. Thanksgiving is a simple holiday based on food, family/friends and…Gratitude.
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”Germany Kent
One thing I know for sure is that happiness comes not from what we seek to acquire, but from appreciating what we have. So this week, I’m thinking about all the things I’m thankful for. My family. My friends. My health. And that’s just for starters. In 2020, we don’t have to look far to find lots of reasons why we’re fortunate. My heart goes out to those I know who are suffering the loss of loved ones or jobs. Ron and I are lucky – we still have work, we have a home and can put food on the table. Sure, we can’t see our families as we’d like to this year so we’ll have to spend some time Thursday in Zoom calls, but we live in a technological era when we can. And we’re still safe.
“The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.”Douglas Wood
Gratitude has gotten me through some pretty tough times in my life. When health has eluded me with my colitis, I’ve been grateful for the medical care I received and for the people closest to me who helped care for me and bring me back to a state of health. Ironically, my first hospital stay was on Thanksgiving in 2009. I found surprising clarity while lying in a hospital bed that marked a sea change in my life of finding my own independence. The reality is, things can always be worse and as I learned from my dear friend Jack O’Brien, something good always comes of it. And it always has! Through difficult illness and rehabilitation, I became closer with my family. By focusing on gratitude for all the helping hands, I never had room in my mind for self pity. In fact, Some things turned out so much for the better that I am to this day grateful for the illness itself.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”Willie Nelson
This year I’m especially grateful to those of you who are reading this. Many of you have supported me as an artist and helped me realize a dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I’ve been blessed by your encouragement, your visits to my shows and your purchases. I’m grateful to the gallery owners I’ve worked with and mentors who have given me guidance. Yes I’ve worked hard, but you’ve helped me bring my art from a life calling to an act that is sustainable. I get to do it every day. For that I am forever grateful. Thank you.
This holiday season, may you find peace and joy that gratitude can bring.