Parades, football, turkey and thankfulness define November 22, the fourth Thursday of the month, a national holiday by federal decree. Family members, often from great distances, come “to break bread together.” It’s Thanksgiving Day.

Traditions are observed. Everyone is eager to kick back, laugh, catch up on what everyone is doing and comment on how the kids have grown. TVs are turned on early in the morning to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Football games are available for the rest of the day. This year, the networks give fans an NFL triple-header; no station switching necessary.

Local stations may broadcast Turkey Bowls, high school games held on Thanksgiving or the day before; every state has them and thousands are in attendance. Many gatherings hold their own backyard games, and rivalries enhance the fun.

The need to connect with loved ones and to express gratitude is at the heart of this day of feasting. It may be over a dining room tablescape of china, crystal, candles and a filled cornucopia and attendance at a church service. The day may include staging of a deep-fried turkey barbecue in the backyard. Fancier arrangements may include turducken (chicken and duck stuffed into turkey) or, for vegetarians, tofo turkey.

Not a cook? Enjoy a classic holiday menu at a local restaurant. Or pick up an already prepared turkey with all the side dishes offered by many grocery stores and restaurants.

Appreciation, the gift of time and the spirit of thankfulness all contribute to a great family day.