Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful. It’s a time to “give thanks” for all we have and for each other. Thanksgiving is also filled with traditions. Every family has a tradition. Some like to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Others like to have a family game of a flag football while others run Turkey Trots. I probably could name a few other traditions, but I would like to talk about mine.

Growing up my family went to my grandmothers house in Yonkers. We did it every year until she passed away. We did go to Florida one year, to celebrate with my aunt and uncle, but that too was short-lived. We did try to get together with the ENTIRE family, but being that there are around forty of us, it was a little tight. Then we started having Thanksgiving at our house. My other grandmother and my great aunt came over to my house, as did my aunt from Florida. Sadly, my other grandmother and my aunt passed away years ago, but my great-aunt just turned 103! My family does play a football game in the morning and some of us did do the Turkey Trot for a few years, but the best part of my family now is that it is growing, so the Turkey Trot was happily voided, for now. We may go back to doing it in the future.

Each year I would donate food to the food cupboard for my church which takes care of over one hundred families during this time of year. But I never thought that was enough. Thanksgiving always meant to ‘give” for me. And that is when something awesome happened. I met this fun and amazing woman on Twitter, then we became Facebook friends. I actually have some really close friends that I met on Twitter and Facebook in the beginning stages of when social media started.

So, we had awesome conversations online and then, being that she is a Mets fan, I met her at the game, (even though I am a Yankees Fan.) It was great to meet in person and we then started to meet up in the City from time to time.

Then one week before Thanksgiving, she posted on Facebook that she had no where to go for Thanksgiving. I was so sad seeing that post, so I invited her and her brother to my house for Thanksgiving. Now, ten years later, the tradition is still in full effect, but of course we are growing at the table with her boyfriend and my nephew and niece. But it is always the best time!

So, in closing, Thanksgiving means more than just food, football and family. It means giving back. It means sharing your family with those who don’t necessarily have a place to go and making your home, their home. Thanksgiving Day isn’t about shopping for sales. (That’s what Black Friday is for!) Thanksgiving Day should give you hope in humanity. Thanksgiving Day should be about acknowledging our gratitude together. Thanksgiving is a good reminder that amidst of all the disasters and stresses in life, joy is easy to find. We should be able to realize what we can do and be more open to trying to serve. The way to go beyond being thankful is to have the commitment of giving.

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