If youve been waiting to give thanks for a grand reconciliation between both political parties and the commencement of meaningful work in Washington, you might be feeling disappointed today. You might feel a little like Charlie Brown waiting for the Great Pumpkin.
Our advice would be to focus on the little things. Heres one: The average Thanksgiving dinner costs $49.04, a full 44 cents cheaper than last year.
Each year, the American Farm Bureau Federation compiles the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal based on what it takes to feed 10 people. The meal consists of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk.
What about Aunt Bessies green bean casserole with French-fried onions on top? you might ask. Well, we suppose they have to draw the line somewhere, even if many of us will pass on the carrots and celery.
The survey has a serious purpose. It gives us a snapshot of what grocery prices are around the nation. And while the news is good this year, in some years it hasnt been.
For example, in 2011, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner jumped $5.73 from the average cost in 2010. USDA officials say stable commodity and fuel prices have helped keep prices low this year.
In other words, lets be thankful for affordable food.
We also can give thanks for the annual parade in New York City. We may not watch the whole thing from start to finish, but we can glance at it while we are peeling potatoes or pulling the neck and gizzards out of the turkey. All those giant balloons, goofy floats and marching bands amount to another small pleasure.
And theres NFL football. The Packers play the Lions (alas, always the Lions on Thanksgiving) at 12:30. Theres another game later in the afternoon and another tonight.
Many will rejoice because, instead of having to wait until Black Friday, they can shop all day today and into the night. They may be less thankful when the credit card bill arrives.
And some will enjoy that brisk walk after the glorious Thanksgiving feast, taking in the last remnants of autumn splendor before all the leaves are headed for the landfill. Others, however, may prefer a nap or just a quick doze in the recliner.
There is, of course, the presence of family and friends for which to give thanks. Well, for most of them anyway.
That actually ranks as a big reason, maybe even the key reason, for giving thanks. It doesnt necessarily require a large gathering but the spirit of togetherness and an appreciation of the important things in life are what the holiday truly is all about.
Lets also reserve a special thanks for those who choose to help others, serving at food kitchens, delivering food to the destitute, just lending a hand where they can instead of stuffing themselves with stuffing and other holiday goodies.
We hope everyone will find his or her own blessings and reasons to give thanks. That, after all, is what makes Thanksgiving meaningful, in both good times and bad.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.