The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes cookies, gifts, cheer, and numerous family gatherings. Thanksgiving always poses the question: “What are you thankful for?”, with all around the dinner table promptly delivering the cliché answer of “family”. It is expected to be thankful for family, regardless of the true feelings held for those we share a last name with.
In the days leading up to these seasonal events, numerous complaints about family members are shared as old grudges reawaken from their slumber just in time for their annual reappearance at Thanksgiving dinner. Phrases such as, “Ugh, my grandma is so racist” and “Uncle Joe is going to bother me about college” prove that those with extended family often take them for granted. The storm of retweets on Twitter, joking about praying to avoid the topic of politics at dinner, leave those without relatives close by disgruntled.
Often times, the opportunity to build relationships with extended family is not even an option. The plane ticket fare alone is enough to prevent grandchildren from seeing their 90-year-old great grandmother before she passes. Time is fleeting, making it crucial to establish and cement these relationships early.
Inevitably family members quarrel during the holidays, yet most people fail to step back from the argument and appreciate the relatives they are disputing with. Understandably, it is difficult to let go of severe past feuds, but the regret of cutting ties with someone over a trivial issue proves much more difficult. Parents believe that they are protecting their children from preventing them to meet relatives. However, children long to know their relatives, and will spend their entire lives wondering who their grandpa in Las Vegas really is, and why he never cared enough to know them. Children should not blame themselves for the petty fights between their predecessors.
So stop taking family for granted during the holidays. In fact, stop taking them for granted at all. Many others do not have the same ability to visit their relatives often, whether for financial reasons, family feuds, or simply because those they wish to visit are no longer alive. Instead, be truly grateful that family members care enough to ask about boyfriends and make remarks about the election.