Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a time, just before the craziness of the holidays, that we are meant to take time out of our lives to express gratitude.

Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit

Plus, there’s food.

I’ve had a lot to reflect on this year — and every year, really. I’m one of the lucky ones. Unlike many in our community, I have enough to eat and a warm place to stay each night. I’m also fortunate that, as a freelance writer, I can make a good living while enjoying freedom and flexibility in my schedule.

My parents naturally deserve a huge debt of gratitude from me. They taught me correct principles and encouraged me to govern myself. Even though my parents and I don’t always agree on everything, the reality is that watching my teacher mom fight for her students and listening to my Idaho National Lab-employed dad talk about politics with empathy continues to have a profound impact on me.

It’s also been a great example to me that, no matter how long I’m gone, or what mistakes I make, my parents are always there for me, ready to help.

And, of course, I’m grateful to live in Idaho, where my son and I enjoy the society of amazing people and the beauties of the outdoors. While coming back to Idaho a little more than four years ago wasn’t in my plan, I’ve enjoyed being back, and I’m thankful for the opportunities to be involved in the community.

Being involved in the community has allowed me the privilege of meeting with a number of dynamic and caring people. Despite what our “leaders” would have us believe, and the misinformation they spread, the reality is that the vast majority of the citizens who make a difference every day do so on a volunteer basis.

They stand in the cold and collect signatures.

They knock on doors to register voters, encouraging greater participation in our government.

They write letters to their legislators — even when they know those “representatives” will ignore them, gaslight them or even work against them.

Engaged and educated citizens are, as Thomas Jefferson pointed out, essential to the republic. Without their often-thankless efforts, done largely without any type of financial compensation, we’d be in bad shape.

These are folks who go out there, even though they can’t really afford it, and devote their time and energy to making a positive difference.

These are folks I’m grateful for every day when I see how they are working to improve Idaho for all of us, not just for a few people who use their influence to stay in power.

This Thanksgiving, make sure you express gratitude to a volunteer.

Miranda Marquit is a nationally recognized financial writer and speaker. She serves as Bonneville County’s committeewoman on the Democratic State Central Committee.