Why Jews Shouldn’t Stress About Thanksgiving

4. The television is always there for you. It’s football season, so if things get tense, people can leave the room “to check the score of the game.” They don’t have to know which game, but it’s an easy out of challenging conversations. Designating one TV or a separate room as a kids’ area also gives you an exit: “I’m just going to check on the kids.” That’s such an accepted excuse for leaving a room that it may take some people a minute to say, “hey, she doesn’t have kids…”

5. It’s a great opportunity to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for your circle of family and friends. True, Jewish tradition has a lot of prayers of gratitude, but they’re mostly directed at the same entity that is the focus of the rest of the liturgy: God. And there are many reasons why prayers may resonate or fall flat as you intone them, or seem less than divine, and many of us find them so inaccessible that we eschew them altogether. But really identifying gratitude toward people in your life who contribute positively to your existence regularly or even once in a meaningful way is an incredible opportunity, and it’s one we don’t take often. Expressing gratitude to people for the little things they do makes them feel seen and acknowledged, and may also open a bridge to deeper conversation and more meaningful connection.