On Point On Point

Support the news

Giving Thanks24:24

This article is more than 10 years old.

Giving thanks — Thanksgiving — is the headline of the holiday this week. But what does it mean?

Different things in different cultures, it turns out. And different things even in our own.

There’s the quick, reflexive "thanks" that we may say a hundred times a day just to be polite. There’s the obligatory "thank you" that is a social obligation, good manners, even compulsion.

And there’s the deep “attitude of gratitude” that can come close to grace, to holiness.

This hour, On Point: a Thanksgiving eve meditation on the role and meaning of thanks, of gratitude.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guest:

Margaret Visser joins us from Paris. A South-African-born classicist who long taught at Toronto's York University, she's been called an "anthropologist of the everyday." She's the author of "Much Depends on Dinner" and "The Geometry of Love." Her latest book is "The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude."  You can read an excerpt here.

This program aired on November 25, 2009.

Support the news