Thanksgiving is the ideal holiday for me. I love it, and every year I love it more. It has all the elements of the perfect holiday. It is about getting together with people you love and sharing a great meal and expressing gratitude. The size of ours changes a little from year to year (this year stood at 18) as people bring friends and partners home with them at various times, or as more children are born. But the good feelings are always there, and we never miss an opportunity to remark on what we are thankful for in our lives, or to let each other know how much we love each other.
I remember when I was a child really being embarrassed by my loud, neurotic, political, sometimes overbearing family. But over the years, as I have come to accept myself more, I have come to love my family more and more. Not only do I not gloss over our idiosyncrasies, I now find that I revel in and enjoy them. Each one of my family is a special part of what makes thanksgiving wonderful. I find that Thanksgiving in particular brings out what is best in each of us. It is the one time of the year that we are all committed to being together and renewing the bonds of family and friendship.
Contrast this with the consumer orgy that is Christmas/Hanukkah in the US. Here is a holiday that is completely about giving and getting, expectation and disappointment, recrimination and regret. It is all about materialism, and I think it stinks. It is the holiday that reinforces values that I find most problematic in our culture.