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EDITORIAL: Thanksgiving is about human connection

'However, wherever we come together, whatever the reason, the act of being around others is in itself worth being thankful for.'

The act of thankfulness is front of mind at this time of year, when many families will gather to laugh, and share, and fill their bellies with turkey and goodies.

It's also traditionally a season of giving in community, when strangers share space and time to feed those who may struggle to put together a hot meal, or fill their cupboards, or provide warm outdoor clothing as temperatures drop.

However, wherever we come together, whatever the reason, the act of being around others is, in itself, worth being thankful for.

As the planet churns forward, ushering in new social media platforms and electronic ways of reaching one another, it's tough not to wonder whether we are really, actually reaching one another. 

We don't need new research to show us it may be time to turn away from our digital lives and toward our tangible ones.

The COVID-19 era shoved us all into online school, work, and play in ways we never imagined would be necessary. But so many of us will admit, the penchant for sleeping with our phones beside our beds, spending too much time checking social media feeds, was a habit long before the pandemic arrived.

Perhaps, instead of just a sampling of turkey and trimmings, at a time of year when we traditionally take part in a little culinary excess, we should also take the opportunity to embrace a bit of a digital sabbatical and set aside time to breathe, to enjoy the act of unplugging, and to get back into the habit of connecting regularly, in person. 

No doubt, withdrawal will ensue during such an electronic detox, which will hopefully, over time, be replaced with activities we once enjoyed when we weren't feverishly checking messages, or scrolling through screens.

But giving thanks for the people who matter most to us should come with a commitment to truly see one another, visit, connect.

If anything, COVID revealed a cornucopia of things we all took for granted.

The most glaring of those was human connection. Isolation's effects can still be felt. The antidote, it seems, is embracing the blessing of being able to be with your people, see smiles, give hugs.

Stop before you send that text; pick up the phone and call instead. For every five DMs you send, pay a visit, in person, over coffee. In addition to leaving donations on your doorstep (which are always welcomed by the many groups who collect them), find a way to serve a non-profit group with your presence, your personality, and your time.

We can be thankful that, once again, these in-person activities are possible.

Editorials are the consensus view of the St. Albert Gazette’s editorial board.