Americans around the world will today celebrate their traditional Thanksgiving - believed to have begun as an autumn harvest festival in the 17th century and a time for people to give thanks for what they have.
Coinciding with the start of the modern-day Christmas season - the fourth Sunday before Christmas being the start of Advent - it would appear to be a natural progression into the season of goodwill - a time to cherish time off work, relax with family and friends, and soak up all the joys that Christmas offers.
At this very moment, the view outside my window is positively Lilliputian. Many men and women are hammering away creating an experience that will be enjoyed by many over the next month. But what is far more important is that the vision that is taking shape is one that will be the boon this city and county needs in the run up to the most important time of the year for local businesses.
From tomorrow evening, once again Galway will welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the Continental Christmas Market. Whatever the initial misgivings that were expressed about its impact on trade further down town, there is now no doubt that the decision to bring the market to Galway was an inspired one. With just five weeks to go until Christmas, there is no other town in the country that will look, smell, or sound as seasonal as Galway. Shoppers will come from across the country just to experience the Galway seasonal ambience. And it is one that has been created over just a couple of seasons.
The Filipinos are a very resilient people. I know from personal experience how they can go with a flick of a switch from the depths of despair to the extremes of happiness. Their smile makes them the envy of the world. Their industriousness makes them popular and in demand employees and friends all over the world. Many million of them work overseas in a variety of conditions and environments, to send much needed funds back to families — a concept with which this country is familiar.
As a community overseas, they are helpful, friendly, and pleasant. As a nation, they are peaceloving and cordial. Their political movements gave us the concept of people power in the face of extreme dictators.