Distraction-Free Thanksgiving

By Meg Walburn Viviano

“Let’s call it the Gratitude Issue,” suggested a member of the CBM Bay Weekly team, as we brainstormed our Thanksgiving-week feature story in a staff meeting earlier this fall.

It was decided: we would devote the feature space in this issue to expressions of gratitude—appreciation for those in the community who really deserve thanks all year round.

It would seem an obvious choice—to express thanks through the Thanksgiving weekend. But the calendar has evolved. Now, this weekend is when people leave behind the turkey leftovers and turn their attention to the flashier December holidays. Festivities! Decorating! Gift shopping! Black Friday, Cyber Monday!

Well, Bay Weekly has collectively decided that all that can wait … at least a couple days longer. In this issue, Thanksgiving gets to have its moment. No, it doesn’t come with twinkling lights, catchy songs, or gifts (much to my kids’ disappointment). But it does come with gratitude. That’s because unlike some other holidays, Thanksgiving is free of distractions. It’s simply about being with your people and appreciating them.

This year, being with your people is an incredible blessing all by itself. So many of us missed out on family time last year in our efforts to keep elderly or vulnerable family members safe. While hosting a holiday meal used to feel like a hassle (all that cleaning and cooking!), this year it feels like a privilege.

I’ll take this Thanksgiving to appreciate my nearest and dearest: My spouse, for folding laundry, remembering to put the trash out, and bringing home flowers just because. My dad, for reading every article I write and for teaching me how to take care of a car so it lasts 15 years. My kids, for reminding me to put aside my household busywork and play with them.

But gratitude goes well beyond our closest family members. There is a whole community full of people who make our lives better. The ones who feed the hungry, find homes for elderly pets, and support special-needs students. And these are the people we’re focusing on in the Gratitude Issue. We invited our contributors—from Calvert County to Annapolis and beyond—to write about the folks that go above and beyond for Chesapeake Country.

At the same time, we at Bay Weekly want to show our gratitude for the contributors themselves—writers, columnists, the wizards behind the puzzles in the back of the paper. The Gratitude Issue allows us to give thanks for them, plus our advertisers (nearly all small business owners who live in your community), and of course—you!—our readers. Thank you for taking the time to pick up a copy of Bay Weekly as you run around town doing your holiday errands. We’re proud to share this community with you. Happy Thanksgiving!