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Thanks and giving

Caitlin Housley | Sunday, November 13, 2011

It finally happened … the first South Bend snow of the season, and with the snow came the Christmas music, holiday signs and layaway banners.

Driving down Grape Road and having lamp post banners wish me “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” makes me smile, but also makes me question, “Aren’t we forgetting something?”

Oh right. Thanksgiving — that lesser-known, uniquely American holiday (heck, let’s face it … even Halloween seemed to be left out in the cold this year).

Yet in my book, Thanksgiving is a holiday that simply cannot be overlooked. It is the ultimate pre-game event to the Christmas season. It offers strength training and teaches endurance.

Just how many slices of pie can we train ourselves to eat before we get sick? Is it possible to cover an entire piece of pie with whipped cream so the pie virtually disappears on the plate (yes). Or, how much turkey can we eat before the Tryptophan gets to us and we pass out for the annual Thanksgiving nap? (I’m right at four slices.)

The only trouble is, Thanksgiving has so long been branded the “food holiday” in my mind, that sometimes I lose sight of what it’s all about.

Yes, this is one of those columns — encouraging you to do good this holiday season and to think more about Thanksgiving than just it being the precursor to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Let’s analyze the word, shall we? Thanks-giving. Now, most might view this as the season of giving thanks. Makes sense, right? I, on the other hand, view it as a time for thanks and a time for giving.

Thanksgiving is a time for me to take a break from the hectic life that is school (shout-out to all those finishing up senior comprehensives this semester … really it’s the can of Reddi Wip in my fridge that’s keeping me going), and spend quality, much-needed time with my family. It allows me to reflect on my many blessings, and to realize that this is also a time for giving back to the community.

That’s the intimidating part — giving back to the community. We as college students have to save the world because we are the future, right? Wrong. We’ll never be able to save the entire world this one holiday season, but we can sure take little steps toward that goal.

Before you excuse yourself from this mission because you don’t have the time or the energy to participate, think about how easy it is to donate a few cans to a food drive, or to volunteer a couple of your weekend hours to the Center for the Homeless. There are easy ways to get involved that make a world of difference in the community.

So, finish reading the rest of this newspaper, then go buy the comfort foods you need for the calm before the storm that some may call the last three weeks of classes and pick up a few cans to donate in the process. Happy thanks and happy giving!