Count your blessings as winter’s chill sets in

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Michael VineThe season for sanctioned gluttony is upon us.

And it is at this time of year that we give thanks for not only the promise of full bellies and frequent naps, but also for those things which we usually take for granted—some things others may lack. We are grateful for employment, financial means, health care, reasonable well-being, able minds, and, most importantly, loved ones with whom to share it all.

Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is made all the brighter when we spend the holiday with the ones we love, be they family or friends.

After all, not everyone is able to spend the holidays with their relatives. Geographical distance and travel expenses make holiday visits with relatives implausible for some, while emotional distance and psychological costs make visits no less unlikely for others.

Fortunately, the lines drawn between family and friends are easily blurred, and holiday plans don’t have to suffer when we cannot be with our relatives. Friends, after all, often become our family.

It may also help to remember that Thanksgiving, like harvest festivals around the world, is intended to be a community rather than simply a familial event.

I, for one, will be spending Thanksgiving with a family made up of my relatives, friends of relatives, friends of mine, and friends’ relatives. And, as we’re all stuffing ourselves with stuffing, and dressing, and turkey, and chitterlings, and all the fixings with cranberry sauce and hot sauce a-plenty, I hope that each of you feels just as loved–and as thankful–as I do.