Remember when Thanksgiving was about coming together with your family and enjoying the foods of your culture? Remember when it was about being in  one anothers company and being thankful for the simple things in life? I’ll be honest, for a while although Thanksgiving was about food and family it was also about shopping. I am not a fan of Christmas, well scratch that, I love the holiday but I hate what it does to me. I become so consumed with people and gifts and everything having to be perfect but still affordable it literally gives me anxiety. So black Friday was often a heaven sent for me, I could over shop without over spending because of the deals. At some point though, I lost the spirit of Thanksgiving and became one of those ugly shoppers pushing people out of the way to get the latest gadget for a person who probably didn’t even deserve it.

I’ll never forget my last 4th of July. I was in Americorps and we were stationed in Brownsville Texas and we were working with Customs and Border Patrol. For the 4th of July my team and I drove to South Padre Island and spent the day at the beach swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. There’s was nothing more liberating than being an American at that moment. I was never more grateful, because I had done nothing to deserve the freedom that came with being an American, yet there I was. I vowed that night that I would appreciate the simple things in life, that I would try my hardest not to be greedy or take advantage of my freedom,  but to be thankful for it. So this Thanksgiving I spent with my family, I told them how much I loved and appreciate them. I helped prepare family dishes and just enjoyed the privileged I had. I did NOT go shopping. I did not give in to the advertisements and the pressure to be this monster that these sales encouraged. Even better I found a way to turn this holiday into a giving one. I received an email about #GivingTuesday, it was created in 2012, the day not only celebrates the spirit of generosity that is embedded in our DNA, but also serves as a reminder that our greatest commitment to each other is to give. I signed me and my younger sisters up for the weekend after to volunteer at a Food pantry and the following weekend at a toy drive.

As President Barack Obama said of #GivingTuesday, “by encouraging people across the globe to support their neighbors in need through acts of kindness and charitable donations, we can cultivate a sense of understanding that we are all part of something greater than ourselves.”




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