Embracing the true spirit of Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingSo today is Thanksgiving here in the United States, and it’s a holiday I’ve come to celebrate less and less seriously over the years, for a variety of economic, political and familial reasons.

In some ways, it’s the most iconic of American holidays (even more so than Christmas), as it’s all about stuffing yourself silly and pretending to be thankful for everything you’ve got – while at the same time gearing up for Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving when you start your insane spending spree for Christmas – essentially suggesting you were lying about everything you claimed to be thankful for just the day before.

In short, Thanksgiving kinda grinds my gears.

I mean, I love turkey and mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but I honestly don’t feel that most people – myself included – are actually very THANKFUL on Thanksgiving. Instead, we’re collectively indulging in gluttony, which kicks off the whole “holiday season” of greediness and consumerism.

Either that, or we’re debating the true meaning of a holiday with roots in the genocide of an indigenous people.

All I can say to both options is Ick.

So instead of indulging in a lot of overeating or shaming my fellow citizens about the terrible things America’s founding fathers did back in the day, I’ve decided to do something different.

I’m kicking off the holiday season with some REAL thanks-giving, by thanking some causes that I think are worthy by giving some time, energy or money to them, and encouraging my readers to do the same.

anne-frankFor instance, I recently discovered this list of 11 Frequently Requested Books in American Prisons on Bustle. I’ve read only one of the books on this list (The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank), so in 2016 I aim to read the remaining 10, and then pass them on to people on the inside. Two birds, one book.

After reading that article, I also discovered the Prison Library Project based in California. Their website notes that the most requested book for many inmates is a dictionary. I found one for just ONE CENT on Amazon, and had it sent to the group posthaste. If you’ve got a couple of cents to spare (plus $3.99 for shipping), you can give a lot of inmates a gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.


I’m also renewing my Friends of the Library membership, because my current hometown is still struggling to raise the funds to furnish the inside of our new library, and every bit helps. If you’ve got some spare bucks lying around, consider joining for just $15 – or making a (tax deductible) donation to this worthy cause.

In fact, as an added incentive to help out ALFA, if you email me proof of your donation, I’ll give you one of my books as a thank you gift – your pick!

Now it’s your turn…

What are some worthy causes you like to support? And how can you work them into your own Thanksgiving celebrations?