My mom was Midwestern traditionalist all the way through. Holidays were to be celebrated according to tradition on the appointed day.

To my wife, the second time she does something–say visit the Christkindlmarkt in downtown Chicago on “Black Friday”–becomes a tradition.

Many countries now celebrate some form of Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is the day in the US. Most of the people of the country will be traveling today.

We celebrate on a day called Thanksgiving thanks originally to a woman who wrote letters to the Presidents for 40 years pleading for a day observing Thanks. Abraham Lincoln looking for a symbol of unity for a divided nation (think it’s bad now, try living in the 1850s and 1860s) proclaimed a holiday for Thanksgiving.

But it soon became a commercial holiday as retailers jumped on a way to promote sales. By the late 1930s, it was so well known as a commercial holiday that Franklin Roosevelt tried to move it up a week to get people in the buying mood earlier to help spend us out of the Great Depression. But tradition said, leave it alone.

Tradition and Commerce. The foundation and structure of the holiday.

We don’t have to wait for one day a year to offer gratitude. It is a spiritual discipline. I have a recurring “to do” in my app that pops up every week that reminds me to slow down for a moment and reflect on everything for which I am, or should be, grateful.

It’s too bad I need the reminder.

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