There is much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season.

There are football games to watch on television and, of course, turkey to eat at the table — or in front of the TV to watch football, if you’re so inclined.

However, the main purpose of Thanksgiving is, as its name says, to give thanks.

What is there to be thankful for?

Each person has a different answer. For some, 2017 might be a great year. For others, not so much.

So, let’s look at 2017 gratitude from a local perspective.

Traffic is getting back to normal, although maybe more slowly than some people would like, with area roundabouts finished. The roundabout at Sugar Loaf Avenue and Wright Street, for example, has been completed for a while, and traffic seems to be moving smoothly at the intersection.

In the spring, expect some enhancement in the roundabout centers when landscaping takes place and flowers are planted. You can yield and then keep to the right — the basic rule of roundabouts — while viewing more color.

Area school districts face serious financial challenges, but their doors are still open and kids are still learning.

As with just about any year, businesses come and go, but many storefronts continue to be open for commerce.

The Oct. 24 windstorm caused lots of damage, downing trees and moving huge rocks onto the parking lot of Shiras Park at Picnic Rocks. However, efforts have been made to clean up the damage, which, compared with destruction in Puerto Rico and Houston after Hurricanes Maria and Harvey, respectively, is relatively minimal.

There still are homeless people in the area, unfortunately, but they can find refuge and help from many places, like Room at the Inn, the Warming Center, the Salvation Army and others.

Schools, transportation, shelter — these are fairly big things for which to be thankful, but being grateful means finding optimism in smaller things too.

Longtime downtown Marquette fixture Phil Niemisto, who washes windows and tends the pocket park along Washington Street that bears his name, recently was honored with a life-sized statue of himself at the park, courtesy of a community fundraising campaign.

That’s a physical reminder to be thankful of people like Phil who give of their time without asking anything in return.

In fact, that’s a good way to look at Thanksgiving too. People can give thanks, but they can find ways for others to be thankful.

And there are plenty of ways this can happen. People can donate a toy to a holiday gift drive, give money to a local charity, visit an elderly neighbor or simply hold the door open for someone.

Thanksgiving can be celebrated in many ways, big and small. The important thing is to celebrate it.