If you were born this week, you are a Sagittarius, and your horoscope says for your good fortune you must shop. A lot. How can you not? It’s in the stars.
Curiously, according to my ephemeris, the same goes for all sun signs. And just as curiously, this horoscope is in effect up to two days after the winter solstice.
I’m kidding, of course. I don’t know much about astrology, but can fake it if you hum a few bars.

One thing is for sure: Black Friday is descending upon us, and I don’t believe I’m too far off here, but when shopping for Christmas gifts, who among us might just pick up a bargain for ourselves?

And here’s a reminder, when you’re hustling and bustling with everyone else, don’t forget to pick out some great Christmas cards. I guess some of us still do that, but I wonder, what with social media running roughshod over personal contact and people using emojis to express their feelings, where-oh-where does that leave Hallmark cards?

One of the time-honored traditions in December used to be compiling that greeting card list and sending out handwritten messages in personally addressed envelopes. Oh, but wait, now you can have an online service send out those cards for you in your choice of handwriting fonts.

In case you’re not in the know, the Oxford Dictionary defines emoji as a small digital image or icon to express an idea or emotion. Read: smiley/sad/surprised/grumpy/etc. faces.
All that aside, Thanksgiving is the best kind of holiday. It’s the one day that is purely American. It’s about gratitude, existing for the sole purpose of simply giving thanks and acknowledging those around us who have helped us along the way, much like this country’s storied first Thanksgiving. It’s a time for breaking bread with others.
Growing up, my mother would ask us to give thanks, not for the stuff we have, but for the people in our lives, and that has stuck with me all these years, whether all I had was a Hungry Man turkey TV dinner or a home-cooked spread with all the fixings.
She grew up during the Great Depression years and would say, “When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.”
And I’m sure it was on sale on Black Friday.

Speaking of those halcyon times of the past, while thumbing through some old files, I ran across something I had saved to use for a column topic. Written in 1920, it found a new audience in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and a spoken word recording of it made the Top 40 on the radio. Titled simply “Desiderata,” it pretty much rings true today, and I like to brush up on it every year at Thanksgiving.

It’s worth repeating, so here goes:
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.