An Encomium to the Potlatch - Thanksgiving Words

Amongst the darkening days and cool, crisp air of autumn comes a holiday where friends and family warm themselves with love, thankfulness, and steaming pumpkin pie (with added bonus of no looming elections). Although none of us were present for the first Thanksgiving, we know that it must have been quite a feast simply by the pains we take each year to recreate the tasty smorgasbord! They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so the least we can do is cook a meal as a fitting requital for the founders of this delicious holiday.

Before we preheat our ovens, let's take a minute to cogitate the true purpose of this stomachache inducing potlatch that is about to take place. The story goes that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation, in an effort to give thanks for the plentiful harvest and the indispensable largesse of the Wampanoag Native Americans, invited their neighbors to a sit-down dinner. This meal was meant to further establish a pleasant concord between these two groups of people and set a precedent that would continue throughout their amity with one another. Today, we follow this tradition by visiting our loved ones and eating an abundance of food for largely the same purpose of those who came before us: to show appreciation for what we have been given. It really is a beautiful thing, once you get past Uncle Al's screaming at the Thanksgiving football.

If we could write an encomium to the guests at the first Thanksgiving, we would have to thank them for this beloved day that has been passed down to us, their progeny. As we crack open our cookbooks and crowd the supermarkets, let's make sure that we are still in accord with the main reason we celebrate this fine fall day. We've come up with a list of words that will get you in the spirit of thankfulness, so be our guest and check them out before the family comes over. And do remember to extol your folks for scrumptious stuffing and the opportunity to spend time together!

  • Largesse: If you sat down and made a list of the largesse that has been bestowed upon you this past year, you would probably be more than a little surprised. Just think about it: you might not be in the place you are today without the support and munificent generosity of your colleagues, friends and relatives! So, if you've forgotten to thank these amazing people throughout the year, you've got one more big chance coming up, and it's this Thanksgiving. Show your loved ones how much you appreciate them and give them a taste of your own largesse in gratitude!
  • Requital: Looking for a way to thank your friends and family this Thanksgiving? Inviting them over for this evening's meal might be the perfect idea. But maybe you don't have enough room at your dinner table for that many guests. Don't worry: There are plenty of ways to give your loved ones a requital for all the things they do! Raking the leaves for your neighbor, cooking with your mom, or sending a thank you card to your coach are genuine requitals. For most, it really doesn't matter what you do, as long as you've acknowledged their importance to you. Even though we're headed into the gift-giving season, it's still very much the thought that counts!
  • Encomium: Giving a speech or writing a letter of thanks might seem unnecessary where we believe a laconic "thank you" would suffice. However, if you really want to lavish your appreciation and praise on someone, you might decide to give an encomium! If you want to set the tone for thankful conversation, giving a heartfelt encomium to your guests may be apropos before they chow down. Your thoughtful words will be music to their ears; just don't keep them waiting too long for the sumptuous meal!
  • Progeny: The Pilgrims probably didn't know that their Thanksgiving meal would become a tradition that would continue in the lives of their progeny. What sounded like a perfect idea for a communal celebration certainly sounded like a necessary holiday for us (I mean, who can go wrong with mounds of food?)! And this feast to end all feasts doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon - it'll be celebrated by our, hopefully grateful, progenies!
  • Potlatch: Surely, Thanksgiving wouldn't be the holiday it is today without the inclusion of an abundant potlatch! Although we no longer use it as a gift exchange, we still get together to sample everyone's famous dishes. You don't need to be Betty Crocker to get a seat at the table though. If your acorn squash usually comes out looking like a Jell-O mold, you can stick to setting the table. It takes all types to pull off this plentiful potlatch, even those who just come to eat!
  • Accord: And, of course, what would this day be without the magnificent game of football? Falling leaves, cold nights, and family get-togethers seem to be in accord with the grunts of the team! Although we can't help but root for the Patriots (alright, maybe the Seahawks? Broncos?), loved ones can still (hopefully) manage to stay in accord with one another, no matter who is accorded the win!
  • Amity: Spending this special holiday with friends? If you're not sure whom of your acquaintances to invite to your home, perhaps try branching out and asking that new coworker or young couple down the street for some new opportunities for amity! Not everyone can see their families this time of year, so make sure they feel included in the festivities! It's really a win-win situation: there'll be a plethora of food and amity to go around!
  • Concord: We'd be lying if we didn't think families had their share of asperity! Sometimes we can't help if there are problems, but at least we can work towards concord for just one day. This Thanksgiving, do your best to bring everyone together in peace and harmony (as far as you can!) You can even try to encourage concord in your home by advertising that decadent gravy!
  • Extol: When all is said and done on this delightful day, remember to extol the ones who've made it all possible! Although in some cultures it might be acceptable to belch after your meal to sound your praises, you're better off helping clean the mess after the guests leave and squeezing mom in a big bear hug. We'd be remiss to forget to praise those who prepared for this day! Thanksgiving is truly about recognizing what we have been given and what others have done for us, and we don't want to forget anyone. Now, it's our turn to extol you for reading through this story and preparing yourself for an unforgettable holiday!