Yes, I know all about its dubious and genocidal origins, but even if it isn't called Thanksgiving, isn't it a good thing to have a day in the year that's devoted just to family and friends--not to give gifts, nor to have a religious celebration, but just to being grateful for the people you have in your life?
The turkey goes in early, and since it takes a goodly number of hours to cook, that means a lot of time to go for a long walk in the snowy drizzle outside with whoever's up for the weather.
Then, about two hours before the turkey comes out, it's like an episode of Iron Chef but with fewer flaming saute pans. I make the potatoes, stuffing (not in the turkey so that the vegetarians can eat it), applesauce, stuffed mushrooms, green beans, corn, gravy, and squash, the latter requiring me to go all Wes Craven on a butternut squash and hack away at it with a heavy Chinese cleaver.
As we eat dinner and talk, I'm grateful that just for a little while, we can close the curtains and shut out all the things that CNN and the New York Times harangue us about as often and as long as we read them. Yes, those events are important. But there's nothing to recharge a sense of hope and energy like gathering with the people you most care about, and for that, and for the time and permission that Thanksgiving gives you to do that, I'm grateful.