Thanks for giving

While today?s date may be the talk of the town with its repetition, I?m looking ahead to Thanksgiving.

The family gathering is now less than two weeks away. We?re being reminded more and more of the holiday as turkey decorations pop up around town.

People are gathering all of the necessary ingredients to make family recipes.

Turkeys are beginning to flock from stores to homes, where in less than 13 days they?ll be seasoned, cooked and carved after hours in the oven.

A plethora of dishes will soon crowd tables, everything from mashed potatoes and gravy to cranberry sauce, from devilled eggs to pumpkin pie.

And of course, an array of casseroles ? my grandma Jane makes an out-of-this-world corn and macaroni casserole. Which is a very good thing because the vegetarian, Maya, will have nothing to do with tofurkey ? tofu?s imitation of turkey.

And see, at the Hayes house on Thanksgiving Day, pumpkin pie is not the only dessert on the table. We have a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting each year for Maya?s birthday ? this year 21 candles will be atop the scrumptious birthday cake.

Grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends and the best of family friends will all gather at tables not just to eat, but to share stories, time and be in fellowship.

As we fall into the traditions of the holidays, we need to remember that it doesn?t matter so much about what is being bought or eaten or unwrapped; whom you are spending the holiday with and giving to others are the most important aspects of the season.

Beyond giving within our own nucleus of friends and family, the community could benefit if we each give outside of our typical gifting box.

Perhaps if each of us donated food to a local pantry, another family in your neighborhood would be able to enjoy a meal at Thanksgiving instead of worrying about where dinner will come from.

Or, if you invite a friend or neighbor to join your family for dinner, when their relatives are unable to be there, will help someone feel included instead of lonely.

Or, if you give a coat to a shelter, maybe it will help keep someone warm on the way to school or work in the chilly weather.

Or, maybe most importantly but often overlooked, donating some spare time to a charity will help an organization that helps others. Perhaps it will let the holidays run smoothly for more of Henry County while putting a smile on your face.

Hopefully we will all remember what the holidays are about ? giving