Thanksgiving 2016 — indeed, the entire 2016 holiday season — may go down in history as among the most awkward “home for the holidays” periods in recent United States history, with fallout from a particularly bitter national election still fresh in the mind.
One thing that families always seem to brace themselves for during those festive get-togethers is the mixing of political commentary into the dining room discussions. In previous years, there were anticipated disputes; but in the wake of the tumultuous 2016 presidential campaign, and subsequent protests, social media bickering, and mixed messages coming out of our current and future leaders, it’s possible that the table talk could devolve into chaos.
We have some advice to those families where this might be the case. Borrowing a classic line from the 1980s movie WarGames: “Thanksgiving arguments about politics are a lot like global thermonuclear war: the only winning move is not to play.” If you want this Thanksgiving to be fun and enjoyable, keep politics out of it. Don’t ruin the holiday spirit by starting a Thanksgiving argument about politics. It’s really that simple. Minds were not going to be changed in the days before the election, and it is certainly pointless now after the votes have been cast.
This is the only way to guarantee an enjoyable holiday for all, even if it is a difficult concept for the more politically vocal among our readership. Instead, we offer the following ideas on how to truly bring “thanks” into the Thanksgiving holiday:
• Donate to the United Way’s Project Thanksgiving (www.unitedwaypbc.org/projectthanksgiving), Feed the Hungry (www.feedthehungry.org) or Feeding South Florida (www.feedingsouthflorida.org). According to the United Way, more than 210,000 Palm Beach County residents don’t know where their next meal will come from, 64,000 children do not have enough to eat and one in every seven senior citizens are food insecure. A $20 donation will feed a family in need this holiday season.
• Volunteer at the Palm Beach County Food Bank (www.pbcfoodbank.org/volunteer) to help support hunger relief in our community. Or, equally important, donate food or host a food drive (www.pbcfoodbank.org/donate-food).
• Volunteer or donate to the Soup Kitchen of Boynton Beach (www.thesoupkitchen.org), which has relied completely on the generosity of individuals, businesses and select foundations for support since being established in 1983.
• Volunteer or donate to the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center (www.westpalmbeach.va.gov/giving). The VA offers a number of ways in which individuals can help military veterans in need.
• Churches are always lending a hand as well. This includes the Royal Palm Covenant Church, which operates a food pantry all year round in Royal Palm Beach. The church is always looking for food and monetary donations — especially this time of year. Visit www.rpcchurch.com or call (561) 793-1077 to help out.
• A turkey drive will be held Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Publix store located at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach. The first 100 people who donate a turkey will receive a free half gallon of Blue Bell Ice Cream. The event is sponsored by Blue Bell, Sunny 107.9, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Publix and 850 WFTL.
• There are also a number of other local food drives, such as Wellington’s Hometown Holiday Food Drive (www.wellingtonfl.gov) and the Bill Brooks’ Food For Families Food Drive (www.wptv.com). If you can’t find a food drive, check with your local school. Almost all schools are taking part in one.
Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a day of thanks, where Americans are reminded of the bounty of treasures that is a part of our lives. But Thanksgiving is also a call to action. It is vital for us to remember the word “thanksgiving” is composed of two words: thanks and giving. We are reminded to give thanks and to share and give — to share our economic and material wealth, and to share also our time and talents with other people who could use our help. This year, let’s emphasize the “giving” part of Thanksgiving.