In this week's edition of the Kristol Clear-- which you can sign up for here-- the boss has some reading and gift suggestions for our devoted readers.
Here's an excerpt:
The Spirit of Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving! And in celebrating Thanksgiving, why not pause to reflect on it? Thanksgiving seems to be a distinctively American holiday (with the possible exception of Canada). Other nations have independence days, memorial days, days commemorating the birthdays of their great leaders, etc.--but I'm not sure there's anything elsewhere much like Thanksgiving. And within the American tradition, Thanksgiving has always seemed to me an appropriate bookend to Independence Day. July 4th celebrates patriotic self-assertion, political independence and human self-government, Thanksgiving recognizes the other side of the coin, our dependence on something higher than us and our gratitude towards that higher being's beneficence.
Anyway, if you, like me, are at all intrigued by the meaning of these holidays, and you want to read up on them, there's a terrific resource available--at the American calendar section of the What So Proudly We Hail website created by the late Amy Kass, Leon Kass, and Diana Schaub. Take a look at the materials assembled for Thanksgiving. You'll be instructed, entertained, and might even find something to share around the Thanksgiving table, during halftime of one of the football games.
Independence Day (which you can read about here and Thanksgiving are, as I say, deeply complementary; but of course people do tend to fall into two camps, preferring either the assertive spirit of the one or the grateful spirit of the other. I've got to admit I'm probably in the Declaration camp, finding a special pleasure in honoring "that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword" (Jefferson's letter to Roger Weightman, June 24, 1826). But though a Declaration man, I think I still appreciate the spirit of Thanksgiving. And unlike so many others, I actually like turkey.
Holiday Gift Idea
Of course, as soon as Thanksgiving's over, it's on to Christmas. And, if a non-Christian may be permitted to offer a suggestion, I have a great idea for a Christmas present--the new book going on sale this week, edited by our own Jonathan V. Last, The Christmas Virtues. It features twenty sparkling, funny, and occasionally poignant essays by everyone's favorite conservative writers. Laugh and reflect on various aspects of the holiday--Matt Labash discusses dealing with your family, Andrew Ferguson writes on Christmas music, Steve Hayes describes Christmas morning, P. J. O'Rourke praises the joys of a commercialized Christmas, Joseph Epstein reflects on being Jewish at Christmastime, and there are many more of (if you can believe it!) equal quality. It really is the perfect gift for all manner of friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and is suitable for people of all ages, faiths and even political persuasions (though, in truth, it's probably better for conservatives...).