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Jiffy Rental Center in Riverton, Wyoming

What you need more of this Thanksgiving isn’t turkey. Try something more fulfilling -- a sense of gratitude.   With it, you can enjoy the holidays as you may have never experienced them before. Whatever your circumstances, make the best of America’s holiday season by thinking about all that you have to be grateful for. 

As it turns out, millions of people hate the holidays, including Thanksgiving. The reasons are as varied as the people who hold them  -- the price of gasoline to drive, the mind-numbing wait in the airport for your delayed flight so you can reach your destination, or seeing Uncle Mort who always asks  intrusive questions about your life.  Never mind about all the reasons you should have stayed home. You can marvel at the people who enjoy the warmth and chaos of a family gathering and who would walk a hundred miles just to be there.  Thanksgiving is what you make it. The same is true for Christmas.

I remember one Thanksgiving when fate brought together total strangers around our family thanksgiving dinner. My mom and dad invited some ladies from the church.   I invited Tom because we always included people who didn’t have a place to go for the holiday. Tom rarely showed up. He was widowed, outspoken, and he could fix anything, while cussing like a sailor.  He worked most holidays.  So I was surprised to see him on our doorstep with a smile and a fifth of Jack Daniels.  I remember the pained and priceless look on the faces of the ladies from church. Somehow, my wife made everyone feel at ease. The shock and awe I expected from this mix was subdued, thanks to Tom’s admirable attempts to curb his language. The wide-eyed church ladies learned a lot that Thanksgiving.  

Don’t rule out  inviting friends at Thanksgiving.  They can add to a traditional family holiday.  Sometimes, gatherings with just the relatives can deteriorate into trauma, leaving someone in tears over a thoughtless remark or too much criticism of each other’s lives.  We tend to give friends more leeway. In turn, they can inspire us to do the same for family members.  Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate being together.  This is a gift you won’t always have to enjoy.  Being grateful is easier when you think about being without someone you love.

Life’s irritations will be there long after the holidays.  Don't keep score, let them go.   Many people have greater obstacles to overcome than the ones you confront.  Parents who have lost a child to disease or accident are forever changed by the event and its proximity to the holiday.  A few years ago, I saw a sign in a Children’s hospital that said: “Parents who lose children in this life are allowed to raise them in the next.”  It probably wasn't written by a preacher, but I can't think of a prospect more joyous for these parents.  This Thanksgiving, try to create a bit of Heaven on earth.  Whenever possible, fill despair with hope, give of yourself to others, and take notice all that you take for granted around you.

This holiday is not about you. It is about gathering together for each other, even just to see a brother or sister or a friend again or to make this day special for Mom.   Make this Thanksgiving memorable for others.  Then you will discover Thanksgiving’s true value in yourself.


Jiffy Rental Center Riverton