Well, that worked, I think. Twenty four entries and about 20,000 words written, on things I was thankful for, both serious and not-so-serious. The point of writing it, as I noted in the beginning, was to focus on the holiday of Thanksgiving itself, rather than see it as the opening bell to a five week holiday season. Thanksgiving deserves to be more than the opening band for Christmas, which is essentially what it’s been relegated to at this point.
It also reinforced a point that I already knew but which was worth considering daily on a conscious basis, which is that there is a lot in my life I have to be thankful for. The list of twenty four things in the Thanksgiving Advent Calendar is not exhaustive — there are many other people and things I could have put in there, including other family members, specific friends and associates, pets and so on. It wasn’t meant to be a definitive accounting. The act of taking a moment each day to be thankful, and to communicate that thankfulness.
Writing it was a challenge in a couple of ways. The first was that generally speaking I didn’t plan in advance what I was going to write each day: I sat down with a blank screen and thought of something at the time. This is why many of the calendar entries were related to what I was doing each day — travel and fans being prime examples. I thought about writing things down but then I figured that if I couldn’t on a daily basis decide on something I was thankful for, then that said something in itself. Fortunately coming up with something on a daily basis was not difficult.
In another thread on the site, I was reminded that originally the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States had a religious basis, so for an agnostic like me, what or who was it to whom I was giving my thanks? The answer is that in most cases I’m giving thanks to those most direct to my thanks — so when I was thankful for friends, those to whom I was thankful were my friends themselves; when I was thankful for hand sanitizer, the thanks went to those who invent it and make it, and so on. In the more existential cases I suppose you could say my thanks went to the universe at large, which arranged itself very nicely for me, even if there was no intent on its part to do that. In cases like that, being thankful is as much about being mindful of one’s good fortune as anything else.
Several of you reading took the time, in comments and e-mails, to thank me for writing the Thanksgiving Advent Calendar; my answer is, of course, that you are most welcome. I’m glad you got something out of it. I don’t think it’s something I’ll do every year — it was a fair amount of writing, and one of the reasons I could do it is that I’m waiting on a contract before I start writing my next major project — but doing it this year was fun and useful to me in its own right. I hope it inspired each of you to think of the things you are thankful for as well. If it did, then it did what it was supposed to.