As we prepare for Thanksgiving this year I am once again astounded at the rush to Christmas that seems to invade the mall, grocery stores, and of course, my children.

Shopping for a turkey takes me past an aisle full of ribbon candy, ornaments, and “inexpensive” stuffed toys and board games. Sadly, it also brings out the gimmies in my eldest. I shop to a chorus of “Can I?”‘s and “I want!”‘s and I get more frustrated as each request hits me.

Finally, as I field requests for new boots at the shoe department while my mom tries to find something she can wear in the snow and ice, it occurs to me that we are missing something from this holiday. Instead of thinking of all we have, the lovely turkey we will cook tomorrow, our warm house, and our loved ones, my family is focused on what we don’t have.

I stall another set of incoming gimmies with an upraised hand and tell my little one to sit. I ask her to think about the things she is really thankful for. I remind her that we are a very lucky family, and that while our resources are tight, we are fed, clothed, and comfortable. I point out that she may have wants, but they aren’t things she really needs. She has warm clothes, good food, cookies and hot cocoa, toys and books, and most importantly, a family who really loves her. I remind her that many people can’t say that.

When I looked over at her several minutes later she had tears running down her cheeks. I asked her what was wrong and she said “They are tears of joy Mommy. I am thinking about how lucky I am, and I am really happy to have so much.” This evening I found her compiling a list of all the things she is thankful for. Many of them are really strange and funny, such as the door to her bathroom, but most reflect an awareness that she is blessed with many important things. She plans on reading this list to her family tomorrow, right after turkey.

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