Ask Mr. Manners

We give thanks

Thanksgiving quickly brings to mind thoughts of savory turkeys, sweet pies, and other beloved sides that have been associated with this holiday over the years. With all the delicious dishes on the table aside most people would agree that this holiday is about more than the food. It’s really all about gratitude, as the first celebrants of this day believed.

As members of the LGBT community, we often choose our own “families” comprised of those who love and support us. When the family gets together for a special holiday like Thanksgiving, there is often a blessing, special grace, or kind words spoken before the meal begins. But since giving thanks is the focal point of the holiday, why not add another tradition or two that focuses on gratitude, a tradition that may become as special and anticipated as the pumpkin pie?


This year, I am committing to add a component to my family celebration which includes a Thanksgiving “show and tell.” While this may sound silly, I think it’s important to adopt new ways to show gratitude this year. Our new tradition starts by asking everyone to bring along something that reflects what they are thankful for this year. Then each person, in turn, can share it with the group and tell their story.

Pondering on our guest list of attendees, I can only imagine how the new tradition will go. I expect that we have a full array of items, photos, songs, or any other trinket which they wish to share. I am not going to be extremely specific on what needs to take place during “show and tell” but rather, the focus will be on each person being “seen” and appreciated for the thing they are particularly grateful.

Gratitude is an interesting thing. A key part of the experience, which is often overlooked, is taking time to appreciate the things which inspire others. Each of us has different reasons for being grateful, but it’s the genuine understanding of others which makes the sharing of gratitude such a unique and rewarding experience.

There are a variety of ways your Thanksgiving gathering can build on the thankful tradition of the feast. I understand a “show and tell” may not be the best solution in all circumstances, so I urge you to think about your chosen “family” and what fits you. Find something which uniquely allows you to show your gratitude and reflect your unique situation. Regardless of how you decide to celebrate, it is most important to just remember to give thanks!

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