Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Is the Best American Holiday — Even When It’s Unpredictable

To me, this is the greatest American holiday: I absolutely love Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving with our friends, the McCurrens
It’s the one day that binds our heritage with a focus on gratitude; a ritual opportunity to pause as a nation and celebrate our love for one another and how lucky we are to live in this great country.

Typically, Thanksgiving in our household is somewhat unpredictable. I never really know — until the very last minute — who might be joining us or how many friends (and pets) they’ll bring. I rarely know if I’ll have enough space to seat whomever will decide to show up, whether it’ll be a low-key event, or if the party might continue into the next morning.

The McCurren boys and their “pre-feast pass-out”
What I do know is that my family and I are fortunate to always have more than enough food and drink to entertain for that day … and at least a few thereafter. Believe me, having come from a clan that started with nothing but an idea and a strong work ethic, I always appreciate the simple pleasures of plentiful food, good wine, and a safe, comfortable, and beautiful home.

Little Fiona bossing our dog Louie
Michaela brought me flowers!
My dad often remarks that “Only in America can a poor boy from the north end of Toledo take a risk, work hard, and build a self-sustaining successful business.” How lucky we are! And who would’ve guessed?

This year should be especially unpredictable. My husband — the one who cooks on Thanksgiving from start to finish — literally just had his hip replaced two days ago! In his case, it’s the price of lifelong running and high school contact sports. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same? While surgery is never fun, we’re grateful it’s only a hip as opposed to disease and he should be up and about within less than a week.

The men and the customary turkey carving
Then our daughter Dana and her new husband Josh are expecting their first child around the same time. What if it happens that day? Fine by me! Some may be stressed, but I’ll happily call a “babysitter” for my husband, escape dinner, and spend the evening in the hospital to greet the new baby!

Why am I writing this and who cares?

Here is my point: It doesn’t matter. It’s Thanksgiving! No one is expecting a gift. Nobody will feel slighted if I can’t uphold our traditions. We’re lucky. And if you’re reading this, my guess is you’re lucky too. No matter what you’ve faced this year — the good, the challenging, the life-changing, the tragic, and even the innocuous — on this day, it’s gratitude that binds us. It’s part of our national identity and makes me proud to be an American.

My family all together is what matters most to me!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from my family to yours,

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Share a photo of your holiday custom — or a non-traditional celebration you’ve enjoyed — with us on social media using the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

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