Tracey McMillian

More than any other holiday, I love Thanksgiving. I like the idea of spending time with family, eating good food and giving thanks for what you have and those you love.

Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday every November. We celebrate Thanksgiving in part to show our thanks for everything that we have, but also as a tribute to the pilgrims who came here from Europe. The history of Thanksgiving in the United States begins with the pilgrims who came over from England and landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1621.

Perhaps this is the appropriate season to wonder if there is a difference between being thankful and giving thanks.

Thank you. Those two words are among the most important and appreciated in any language. Some people rarely say thank you. You wonder what holds them back. I am guilty of this myself. We should have developed the habit of expressing our gratitude by the time we were 3 years old.

Most people probably regard themselves as being properly thankful. If they really are full of thanks, thatís wonderful. But thankfulness must be expressed to others to be worth much. Giving thanks is much better than just being thankful. Giving thanks is good for both parties, the giver and the receiver.

Many Thanksgiving Day celebrations undoubtedly involve precious little thankfulness, much less giving thanks. For many the holiday has become known as Turkey Day, characterized more by gluttony than gratitude. Meanwhile, people in poor, undeveloped countries look at the United States as rich and self-indulgent instead of thankful for its abundance, comforts and conveniences.

We should make it a habit to thank people. When we do, we are sure to make people happier.

Are you thankful for your education? Thank your parents and a whole host of teachers. Are you thankful for your freedoms? We owe much to our forefathers and statesmen. Are we thankful for our health? We can thank our parents and a farmer or rancher. Are you thankful you have regular trash pickup? Thank your garbage man. Are you thankful for your job? Thank your boss. You get the idea.

Wouldnít it be nice if companies had a bigger need for thank-you departments than they have for complaint departments?

We should be thankful for all weíve been given, and express it. This is what Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be about. Remember to be thankful for your country and its blessings. Tell your family and friends how much you appreciate them.

Letís make every day a day of giving thanks - a thanksgiving day. Iím going to try harder, and I hope youíll join me. You can say it: Thank you.

Tracey McMillian works in editorial design at the Empire-Tribune and is an occasional guest columnist.