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Our View: What ‘thankful’ really means

Published: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

On Thanksgiving, the word thankful will be thrown around plenty.

People will be thankful for food and family. They’ll be thankful for all the past year has brought them and all that the future holds. They’ll be thankful for the sales that begin Thursday night and run through the weekend.

They’ll even be thankful for football.

So maybe this holiday is the right time to analyze what thankful really means.

We’ll spare you Webster’s definition of the word, but stick with the word appreciate, with a sprinkling of gratitude.

In essence, it means to not only feel the appreciation and gratitude yourself, but also show it in an entirely selfless way. By selfless, we don’t mean showing up on Thanksgiving Day to volunteer at the soup kitchen.

Volunteering during the holidays is important, charities need those holiday contributions to survive, but it’s not the endgame for every individual.

That happens at home, whatever that word might mean to you, with the people you love.

It means taking what’s in front of you, what’s really important and making it the clear priority.

If that’s family or loved ones, spend the day with them. Look them in the eye. Smile. Make them feel the warmth you want them to feel, and do it without considering yourself.

The electronics can wait for Black Friday. Put down your smartphone or tablet or whatever you use to distract yourself while avoiding human interaction, and truly interact, at least for a day.

Work emails can wait. So can food photo updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Enjoy the people around you. Allow them to enjoy you.

It’s amazing what that type of sincere human interaction can do. It can make you happier. It can make you healthier. It can make you, well, thankful – for everything, including that fantasy football team or Facebook page you’re itching to check.

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