Put Thanks in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. We look forward to it for the turkey and pumpkin pie, for being together with family and friends, for the promise of the festive holiday season to come.

Well, I suppose that may be true for many of us, but also for many, too many, that is just not reality — food may not be affordable, family may be non-existent or estranged and the holidays become the most depressing time of the year.

For those of us who are blessed with a home, food, family and friends who love us should take a moment to truly appreciate them and do something special for them on Thanksgiving — instead of just stuffing our faces and playing couch potato. You can still do that, too.

Write each special person is a letter telling them why you are so thankful this person is in your life. It may seem a little awkward if you’re not used to doing something like this, but that’s just what will make it special. It will be unexpected.

My boyfriend Max never fancied himself much of a writer, but he wrote me a poem a while back that shared his feelings in a way he never thought he could. He was hesitant to give it to me because he didn’t think it was very good — and he probably thought I’d take my red pen out and start correcting the grammar and spelling like I do for work.

Believe me, that poem was one of the most precious gifts he ever gave me and will be treasured forever.

If writing is not your forte, then make, do or say something special as a Thanksgiving gift. It doesn’t have to cost any money — just your love. When I look at my own life, I never think of who bought me what, but instead of the times my mom cared for me when she was sick, my dad carrying me to bed and tucking me in when I was little, the friend who was there when my heart was breaking, the kindnesses people showed me and the poem from Max.

And, while feeling so grateful for all you have, make a commitment to do something to help the less fortunate this year. Volunteer, donate, hold a hand, lend an ear, say a prayer — whatever you can do in your situation.

So, to all those I love, thank you, mahalo, arigatoo, salamat, fa’afetai, merci, kamsa hamnida, do jeh, gracias, obrigado. In any patois, it is beautiful.

Mona K. Wood is a publicist and writer. Reach her at