This film relates the experiences of a middle-class American family when they are stimulated to review the things for which they are thankful.
Bill Johnson, a garage mechanic, comes home from work on the day before Thanksgiving to find his children completely disheartened by their mother’s announcement that the family cannot afford a turkey for the holiday. Shocked at his son Dick’s statement that there won’t be much to be thankful for, Bill gently reminds him and the other children that while turkey on Thanksgiving is a great American tradition, its presence sometimes obscures the real meaning of Thanksgiving.
When Dick concedes that modern Americans are a lot better off than the Pilgrims, the others suggest that they all make a list of the things for which they are thankful. Their father cautions them to give serious thought to their list, which should include only the things they feel deeply. He then watches them mulling over their thoughts as they play during the evening.
At the Thanksgiving dinner table, each member of the family offers part of the thanks. Tommy is thankful for plenty of food and free library books to read. Susan mentions clothing, Sunday school, and her family. Dick gives thanks for a chance to get an education and a chance to play. Bill thinks as he looks at Baby Janet that she must be thankful in her own way for fun in the bathtub, playtime, and security. Mrs. Johnson is thankful that her children can grow up healthy and strong, that she can guide them, that her family can have many of the modern conveniences, that she can have freedom of speech, and that Mr. Johnson’s job brings peace of mind. Bill Johnson then finishes the list with the things for which he is thankful: a home with privacy, freedom from fear of political reprisal, the right to pick a vocation in which he is happy, freedom of opinion as represented by his newspaper, the right to vote, and the belief that family unity can become world-wide unity.
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