When we were growing up, Thanksgiving was just something to get out of the way before Christmas. I've thought about it, and I think it's less that I was really greedy, and more that I wanted new things to play with. It's not exactly the same thing--I didn't want a lot of things, just new and different things. We're still that way now, I'm noticing, since we're constantly working on awesome manga and yet lately all I can think about is the awesome manga that we can't get to yet. Oy.
Anyway, it probably didn't help that we're not all that big on food/feasting. We like dessert a lot, but on Thanksgiving we always had pumpkin pie, which we don't like very much either, so... The point is, we didn't care much about Thanksgiving. By the time we got to college, we did care enough about it to yell at speakers that started playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving--Thanksgiving is not to be left out! But that, as Athena points out, was probably less because we love Thanksgiving so much and more because we hate for things to be/feel left out.
As a side note, I do have fun memories of learning about Thanksgiving in kindergarten. Our class... I don't remember if we were the pilgrims or the Indians, but the other class was the other one, and we made paper pilgrim hats and paper feathered headdresses, and we had a big Thanksgiving feast with both classes. I seem to remember eating popcorn and blue corn chips. Also, we enjoyed watching Mouse on the Mayflower.
So back to college. We could never afford to go home for Thanksgiving, so we would spend the holiday with uncles and aunts in the area. It always turned out to be really fun, but I think our cousin blackhope put it best when he said... oh I don't even remember the line, but it was hilarious. Something like, "I love the Nibleys, but they're all evil." Not that they're vicious or anything, but they can be merciless in the tormenting and teasing. And they're all really smart, which makes it harder to defend yourself. Our first Thanksgiving was with an uncle whose family would not let up about our picky eating (though thinking back on it, they said some pretty funny things), to the point where the head of the house finally noticed us trying desperately not to cry and did his best to ease the tension. This is why we're usually pretty reluctant to go to social events that center around food, and why, even though we always ended up enjoying Thanksgiving overall, the idea of who we might be eating with made it harder to focus on why we have the holiday to begin with.
Once we graduated, Mom was always going up to Washington for Thanksgiving, and there were constant battles over whether or not we would be joining them (except the first year), and when we eventually won (we didn't think it would be worth it to drive fourteen hours to spend Thanksgiving with a bunch of strangers who very likely had no interest in anything we had to talk about), we had to then worry about where we would be spending Thanksgiving. Last year, we started a neat new tradition of having little miniature Thanksgiving with Celeste and Sarah. It was very short-lived, however, as Celeste is now married and Sarah went back up to Washington with her fiance.
We haven't ruled out the possibility that Celeste will be having Thanksgiving with her in-laws and someone will say, "So what are the Twins doing for Thanksgiving?" and she'll be like, "Um... I don't know..." and then they'll call and invite us over, but to be honest, I've kind of always wanted to try having a nice quiet Thanksgiving where we don't have to worry about how the food turns out or who we'll be eating with or anything. Especially since we usually spend what most people have as days off working, and this year we feel like we have enough room in our schedule to just take a day off and relax. And so, since we haven't been worrying our normal Thanksgiving worries, I've had time to realize how important Thanksgiving is.
Okay, so that turned out longer than I meant it to, but I like taking trips down memory lane, so it's all good.
Anyway, we've had a lot of talks in church lately about how important gratitude is. As for my own thoughts, first, it's just common courtesy to be thankful to someone for doing something nice for you, or giving you something. But more than that, I've been doing this gratitude journal thing now for more than three years. (Actually, I wasn't sure how long, so I looked it up. Here's the entry that explains why I started it. I think it's been a very helpful thing in our lives here. I actually started it before what we now like to call our Year of Poverty (in which we learned what food from the bishop's storehouse tastes like), and it's hard to say, since I don't have anything to compare it to, but I think it really helped us come through that year (2005-2006, in case anyone was wondering). We realized that October that we just weren't going to be getting the money that we needed for a long while, and while of course we tried to get more work, things were looking bleak. And yet that December just felt really happy. And scary at the same time, but the happiness wasn't really overshadowed. It was really weird, but really cool.
I think it's really easy to get bogged down in all the bad things that are going on, especially (of course) when there are a lot of them. But I also think that if you make sure to look around and realize that there are good, happy things, too, no matter how small and hard to find, it really helps you to hold on to your sanity. And then, three years down the road, you look around and realize how awesome life is.
Of course, this year has been especially awesome for us. We made our first trip to Japan, we got to meet Toshihiko Seki♥ (and he called us beautiful! *swoon*), we got annual passports to Disneyland (and we got to use them!), we've got a ton of awesome manga titles to work on, including being trusted with Del Rey's most popular... But I don't know if any of those things would have happened without being grateful for the littler things. Of course, a big part of this theory comes from our belief that the more grateful we are to God, the happier He is to bless us with more. And I also think that realizing that there are good things helped us to not get so caught up in the bad things that it affected out work, which would then prevent us from translating well enough that Del Rey would trust us with Negima, or fast enough that we could earn enough money to go to Japan. This is something we know from experience, because sometimes we do get pouty and sulky, and it really does affect our work (via our concentration level). It's not pretty.
So that's my newfound appreciation for Thanksgiving. Even if you're not in the United States, it's never a bad time to be thankful for what you have. In addition to all the awesomeness we've had this year, I'm thankful for blue corn chips, cornadoes (they're like french fries, only made of corn, and we were like the only people who liked them, so they stopped selling them, but it was nice while they lasted), having a friend who worked at the Cougar Cove who cooked us some of the leftover cornadoes even after they took them off the menu, random happy memories, and wow, we just realized we never got lost in Japan. Definitely thankful for that. Maybe a little lost in Ikebukuro, but not lost enough that we couldn't find our way back. Oh! And all the people who've had us over for Thanksgiving in the past! And everyone who actually read this entire entry!