When I was growing up, I thought of Thanksgiving Day as one of three days which made up what traditionally is known as "the holiday season": Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day...and the period of time encompassing those three days.
But as the years have gone by, it has come to be known as: a day to gorge ourselves on turkey and everything that goes with it, football games, and the day before the "Black Friday" hoopla, when some people spend the day camped out outside of stores which, appropriately, are closed for the holiday, hoping to be the first to snare dubious bargains (At least, to me, no "bargain" is worth waiting outside of a closed store, in less-than-favorable weather conditions.)
As anyone who went to elementary school (I assume they still teach the lesson) goes, Thanksgiving Day is intended as a celebration of the celebratory feast the Pilgrims (who invited the "Native Americans" to join in) held after they settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Today, it is just seen as a steppingstone to Christmas. And frankly, with the shopping season beginning earlier and earlier every year (this year, it seemed to begin the moment the last Trick-or-Treaters filled their bags), it has even been dwarfed by that.
I'm not saying that, when I was growing up, I didn't think of Christmas before Thanksgiving Day. In fact, the store Christmas catalogs (a tradition lost due to modern technology) began arriving some time in late September, and the toy ads began inundating Saturday morning television around the same time.
But the anticipation didn't begin until after Thanksgiving.
But, just like Christmas, there is a reason for the Thanksgiving holiday. And it has nothing to do with turkey binges, football or "Black Friday" vigils. We should recall the reason for the Pilgrims' feast had to do, basically, with making it through a harvest season: due to disease and other hardships, some of them never even made it to that "First Thanksgiving".
And, of course, it's about giving thanks. We should remember, as the late Paul Harvey often reminded us, while the unemployment rate is between 8-9%, that means more than 90% of the nation is employed in some fashion, even if some aren't employed in the fashion they would like.
If nothing else, we should give thanks that we've almost made it through another year.