When I was a kid, Christmas was my favourite holiday by miles. Of course I still enjoy it, but the 2 month run up to Christmas has become such a slog that it’s hard not to be exhausted when the actual day arrives. I think that’s partly why things have shifted for me in favour of Thanksgiving. I am thankful that it’s free of entanglements, such that no group can claim sovereignty over it. This makes Thanksgiving an inclusive occasion to be enjoyed by people of any religion, ethnicity or social group.
Canadian Thanksgiving is very different than the U.S. version. U.S. Thanksgiving, positioned just 4 weeks before Christmas, is now largely seen as the official kick-off to the Xmas shopping season. Too often Norman Rockwellesq images of U.S .Thanksgiving have been replaced by grainy, closed-circuit video of crowds scuffling for discounted flat screen TVs at 12:01 am on Black Friday. U.S. Thanksgiving has evolved into Thanksgetting.
Unlike so many of the other holidays, Canadian Thanksgiving doesn’t put a heavy strain on our wallets. That’s partly due to where it sits on the calendar. Situated half way between Labour Day and Christmas, Thanksgiving is in a perfect, time-spaced oasis. Other than food stores stocked with turkeys and pies, Thanksgiving is a retail non-event. Our placement of Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks ahead of Halloween should also get some credit. Halloween, being largely a special day for children, has drawn much of the commercial interest away from Thanksgiving. Freed from a commercial agenda, Thanksgiving doesn’t require us to “do” anything. Instead, it’s a time for “being”, a rarity these days. When I think of “being”, the concept of values comes to mind.
As a Money Coach, I invite my clients to identify their most closely held values. This causes some to ask; what do values have to do with money? My answer is that our values represent the things that matter to us most. When we’re clearer on what those values are, we’re better able to connect them with how we expend our limited supply of money and time. After some coaching, people’s core values begin to emerge, which typically include things like; family, health, peace, sanctuary and abundance.
This brings me back to Thanksgiving. Nestled in the calm pocket of mid-fall, free of hyperbole, beneath the radar of commercialism, Thanksgiving affords us the space to reflect on our most deeply held values. If we’re fortunate, those values will be evident in the things that surround us; family, health, peace, sanctuary, and abundance. In case you need reminding, these are the things worthy of our thanks.