There is always something to appreciate on this day, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be in an individual life. Not 'giving thanks", but appreciating in a reflective way. "Giving thanks" implies some benevolent force within the Universe bestowing blessings on the chosen or deserving. I do not believe this is the way it all works from what I have seen of life in 62+ years.
The true benefit of being alive and human at any point is the ability to reflect on the now to improve the experience of the next now. No matter how difficult the now may be, as long as I can think, I can improve the following now. Sometimes I need help with this. Mostly I rely on practicing this very skill day by day, just like pumping iron, to build my mental stamina and resilience.
I have been extremely lucky in life in many ways. Lucky in my genetics. Lucky in my intelligence. Lucky in my teachers. Today I appreciate that good fortune.
Comparative do-gooders can sometimes grate my nerves when their good deeds are seasoned with a faint dose of superiority. "We will be helping the less fortunate." is a saying that rankles, because it often is said with a nuance that implies the "less fortunate' are somehow unable to help themselves without our enlightened actions. Those of us who cannot see the poorest person as capable of generosity, goodness and growth are actually the truly less fortunate.
I will enjoy the fellowship of my guests today in my home. I will appreciate my own ability to be hospitable and generous to them on this holiday. They will bring the great gift of good companionship on a short Autumn day. These are the simple values of being a humanist, as I see it. Setting the table for a peaceful and joyful shared moment. Cherishing it. Letting it pass. Taking the lessons of it into tomorrow.