It's Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. As a child I looked forward to the family gathering with my mother's three sisters and their families in attendance. I loved the excitement that emanated from the kitchen, the laughter of the adults and the time spent with my cousins. When I graduated from the kid's table (where it was a race to see who could eat the most mashed potatoes) to the grownup's I appreciated it even more.

Thanksgiving is a very American holiday, and we've often had to explain when traveling that it isn't just about eating outrageous amounts of food and watching football games. The idea, of course, grows out of the belief that the pilgrims and indians sat down to share a feast after the first harvest, and together gave thanks for their bounty. They may have done that, but if they didn't it doesn't matter. Setting aside one day a year to give thanks is one of the better ideas we've had. You can thank God, Allah, Buddha, Shiva, Zeus, the Universe or the cook—who will probably appreciate it most.

Giving thanks, acknowledging all the good in our lives, is easy to do. But being thankful for the bad things? Not so much. I try though. Because the bad times are when I learned all those hard lessons, when I was forced to look outside myself, when I had to move ahead and get through, no matter what. That time I thought I knew all the answers and the answers blew up in my face? That's something I'm thankful for.

Thanksgiving has always been the least commercialized holiday of the year, which is another reason I love it. This year, however, stores will open on Thanksgiving evening to get a head start on Black Friday—so called because this is the day shoppers start buying for Christmas and the ledgers of retail stores move from red to black. I'm sure it's unAmerican of me, but I don't like them muddying up Thanksgiving Eve with super sales and doorbuster offers. It's offensive. And it deprives employees of enjoying this special day. Can't at least one day a year be free of commercialization?

We won't be joining the shopping crowds. We'll be spending the day with family and friends and shopping can't compete. I hope whatever you do you'll find time to sit still for a minute and enjoy the day. When the relatives get to you, and they no doubt will, take a walk, take a deep breath, hug your kids, and remember there's always something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!