Obligatory Thankfulness

Every year, the turkey rolls around, (and I say, "NO THANK YOU, DRY MEAT") and I'm forced, along with friends and family, for traditions' sake, to ponder why I'm grateful.

Does it bother you, too?

Of course, being thankful is wonderful! The gesture of saying, "Thank you," and the attitude of thanksgiving can change a sour situation into a sunbeam. I feel enormously light once I count my blessings.

But what comes after Thanksgiving? The blackest of all Fridays - the day that people stampede their fellow countrymen in order to get that new flat-screen tv, the latest iphone, that coveted perfume, clothes, toys, things, thing, things...whatever happens to be your vice.

"But I need Christmas presents for friends and family, and Black Friday has the best deals of the season...!"

That is another conversation entirely.

I'm talking about you and your contentment. So what happened there? How can you be thankful one day, while in the back of your mind, you're compiling a wishlist of what you *think* you need or want? Is that the natural order of thankfulness? Be grateful, then survey all your things to decide if you need more things?

I don't mean to be a major hypocrite. I love all kinds of shopping, really, I do. My husband always know when to take me shopping to cure stress (it's a bad habit, stress shopping. I know, I know.) We have a good time, browsing aisles of merchandise, people-watching, and trying on clothes. **To be perfectly plain-speaking, I just like to touch fabric. My inner costume designer goes weak in the knees over it.**

I'm asking all of you, but I suppose I'm really just asking myself. What am I thankful for this year? And is that enough to carry me through until the next year? Until Christmas? Or just until Black Friday, when the advertisements are singing their siren songs? Am I going to be a make-do-and-mend kind of girl, or let "gimme-gimme-more" take over?

It's true, when our clothes and shoes and electronics wear out, it's nice to have something sparkly, shiny, and new. It's nice to get new belongings even if nothing needs to be replaced.

But as I toss my credit card to each cashier, a little bit of me wants to throw the merchandise back in their faces and run away screaming, banshee-style. (Maybe that's too dramatic...)

Are the objects in your life satisfactory? Or do they break, become less shiny, and lose their appeal quickly? What doesn't fade? Perhaps relationships, experiences, traveling, reading, learning something, and gaining knowledge are worth your time?

So let's be thankful for the things we have. Maybe, instead of making a Black Friday list, write down something you want to acquire that doesn't need a credit card.

Write a letter, draw a picture, meet a friend, and extend your day of Thankfulness. Spread it to others and reap the rewards.

And for the sincere but weak among us...I suppose there's always Black Saturday.

Marni Manning - Artist

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