Everything is complicated and Thanksgiving is no exception. Setting aside the impacts of colonialism and systemic inequality—which are quite a lot to set aside and deserve more attention than I’m allotting here!—the idea of dedicating a day to reflection, to consideration of those people, things and circumstances to which we are grateful, is a good one. That the actual reality of Thanksgiving often fails to achieve these ideals—the turducken is nothing if not the antithesis of reflection—does not make those ideals any less valuable.
Nor are these ideals restricted to the fourth Thursday in November. Time for reflection is hard to come by in 2019 but it is almost always time well spent. In the coming days, I intend to spend some time in consideration of those people and institutions that have been generous to me and to make an effort to better appreciate that generosity by returning it more explicitly. In spite of its problematic implications, I love the celebration of Thanksgiving but I shouldn’t need this holiday to be considerate, generous or thankful. I should strive to be those things every day.