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Thanksgiving is a holiday that almost every American celebrates, and it has been largely reduced to a big meal you have the day before the Black Friday sales start. Some stores even open on Thanksgiving Day. What happened to taking a little time to really give thanks and spend time with your family? Now it’s hurry up and give thanks so we can start shopping. What’s the rush?

It makes me feel really, really old to say this, but, when I was young, Thanksgiving was so much better. I miss the way Thanksgiving used to be. When I was in school, we got out of school early on Wednesday and had the rest of the week off. Now many schools schedule the whole week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. With all that time off, it seems like Thanksgiving should be an even bigger celebration now. Instead it seems increasingly less important.

I miss candles in the shape of Pilgrims and honeycomb paper turkeys, cornucopias and Indian corn (are you still allowed to call it Indian corn?) The youngest children in school traced their hands and added details in crayon to draw a turkey–surely they still do that. In school choir we sang Over the River and Through the Wood, We Gather Together, and Faith of our Fathers. I guess you’re probably not even allowed to sing the last two in school anymore.

We always went to my Grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving. My aunts and uncles and cousins would be there, too. We had all the traditional food–turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, winter squash, green beans, and cranberry relish. Of course our feast was topped off with pumpkin and mincemeat and apple pies.

After the meal, we napped or went for a walk. If the weather was nice, my cousins and siblings and I would be out in the yard playing something. Over the weekend we ate leftovers and watched football, but we never, ever went Christmas shopping or worried about getting to a store at 4 am on Friday morning. In spite of this lackadaisical approach, my parents always managed to have everything we needed for Christmas and more.

I know, it sounds a little Norman Rockwell-ish and I am happy to say it sort of was. And I hope maybe you’ll want to try a new tradition this year and take the time to enjoy Thanksgiving.

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