Laughter, Gratitude & Harmony on Thanksgiving: How & Why to Bring Laughter to the Holiday Table by Noreen Braman
Thanksgiving can be a time of self-reflection, nostalgia and, for some, heartache.
- The person who no longer shares our table – through death, estrangement or distance.
- The hurts, disasters and tragedies experienced since last Thanksgiving.
- Personal and global anxiety.
- Mixed emotions of the history behind our celebration.
Who knew that the sharing of a roasted bird, the bird that Benjamin Franklin wanted to declare America's official bird, would, so many years later, be marinated in so many feelings?
Laughter over a shared meal can go a long way to create bonds of tolerance and understanding with strangers, and, yes, even with your opinionated relatives. With my family and friends, there are just some stories and memories that we can't help repeating during these gatherings because the still make us laugh until we cry. Putting down the cellphones and pulling out some old-school board games has also produced the same group laughter, as well as fun with photo props.
Even while remembering and grieving those no longer at the table, the retelling of funny, cute and endearing stories of them brings us smiles through our sorrow – especially because memories associated with laughter remain sharper in our brains. And because the power of laughter can both heal and hurt, I encourage you to use your powers for good.
It is not always easy, and I have struggled with laughter in my life, at one time only seeing its weaponization. In a world of lightning-quick social media reactions and daily apologies that start with "I was only joking," it is wise to think twice before sharing that meme, any time of year, not just at holiday gatherings.
I wish you some smiles and laughter this Thanksgiving, because having fun together is truly something we can all be thankful for.
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