Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Stories

I love Thanksgiving and while I realize that part of the fun of Thanksgiving is that it ushers in the Christmas season, I do wish that there were more specific Thanksgiving offerings available. Turkeys to decorate with, cards to send out, movies to watch. The problem with the few Thanksgiving stories out there, though, is that they're mostly the same: some sort of problem arises as Thanksgiving day is looming but the characters make up with their families just in time for dinner. Okay, family and eating are a big part of the holiday, but what about stories that aren't specifically Thanksgiving but still touch on the broader themes of the holiday? In no particular order . . .

1) Little House on the Prairie - I throw this one into every category because it's always so perfect. But whether we're talking about the one book, the whole series, or the TV show, it has the same concepts. Family, very good friends, new relationships with new people, hard work bringing in results, and complete and utter thankfulness for the things that are good.

2) Silas Marner - This is an odd choice since the story is British and the time is the 19th century, but this story has a very striking illustration of familial love. Silas loved money until it was stolen from him and he found the child Eppie in his house, choosing to adopt her and coming to love her. She, too, cares for him--enough to refuse the offer of a wealthy social standing that eventually comes from her biological father.

3) Pretty much every reference to food in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - If ever there were people grateful for food, it's those on long travels with dwindling supplies. Or hobbits--or hobbits on long travels. Whether it's a feast in Rivendell, a homely bounty in Bag End, lembas on the road, or provisions from Faramir's company, food in these stories is always accompanied by thankfulness and a great relish. Oh, yes, and the bond among the people who are breaking bread together.

4) A Little Princess - Sara has a true Thanksgiving spirit. She begins wealthy--and very sociable. But not only does she make friends with the other girls in the school (including those on the bottom of the ladder), she also befriends Becky, the maid. When she's in this higher position, she shares food with Becky--even once Sara loses everything and is starving herself, she still shares food with others. And she keeps up spirit, for herself and for Becky. That's friendship and appreciation.

5) Little Women - I suppose if I put Little House on the Prairie and A Little Princess on here, then Little Women has to come, too. Basically all the same things I said there hold true here--friendship, family, giving out of both plenty and poverty, and thankfulness.

These were the completely random first five stories I thought of, so I'm sure there are plenty more. But my point is, let's think about Thanksgiving as we celebrate it. Let's get excited. Let's remember it as a coming together of people, of a time of bounty and accompanying thankfulness, of sharing what is good, and of rejoicing in what is good.

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