On Thanksgiving, it’s customary to give thanks for all the good things in our lives.

Sometimes, that’s hard. Sometimes, we tend to think about all that is wrong with our lives — underwater homes, piles of mounting bills, a recession that was officially over in 2009 but still feels like a rusty gear getting the occasional drop of oil when what it really needs is a large tub of grease.

I’m as guilty of that as anyone. But today, and throughout the holiday season at least, I’m going to try to remember just how lucky I really am.

I’m in good health. I’m happily married and have a wonderful 10-year-old daughter. I have a job doing something that I enjoy. I live in a beautiful house in a beautiful town, and I am surrounded by great friends.

And if I need a reminder of just how good I have it right now, I just have to pick up the newspaper, go online or turn on the TV. In New Jersey and New York, people are trying to pick up the pieces from a devastating storm that destroyed 50 percent of the beaches in some areas. In the Middle East, Israel and Hamas are edging closer to all-out war. In Haiti, every heavy rainfall carries the threat of death and disease as a deforested countryside and decades of despotic rule have devastated what was once an island jewel.

Look around you. There are young children with life-threatening illnesses. Homeless people worried not about what they will get for Christmas, but how they will survive the winter. People who are now several years into being unemployed or underemployed. People who will be facing their first holiday season without a loved one.

They may be people you know. They may be your neighbor. They most certainly are your fellow man and woman.

On Black Friday, shoppers will be out early to take advantage of holiday shopping specials. It’s a fun time — in fact, this week’s GO cover story is catered to holiday shopping.

But the holiday season can also be a time when people forget their manners. When snagging the hot toy or the latest technological gadget at a discount takes precedent over everything else.

When, instead of days filled with happiness and good will toward men, there are days filled with stress, angst and worry.

This year, I’m going to try to avoid that trap. I’m going to try to view the holiday season not as five weeks’ worth of shopping, deadlines and headaches, but as what it’s meant to be – a time to reflect, to enjoy family, to treat others with kindness.

And I’m going to start today, the day of giving thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or:

rharmon@pressherald.com

Twitter: RHarmonPPH