CALGARY - Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked Canadians Sunday to think of the troops in Afghanistan as they celebrate Thanksgiving.

In a holiday statement, Harper said the country should be thankful for the bravery and sacrifices made by those in the military.

"These men and women spend this holiday away from their own families and friends so that Afghan families may also experience the freedom and security that Canadians hold dear."

Thanksgiving should be a time to remember those less fortunate, he said.

While the holiday should be a time to relax with family and take time out from hectic lives, it's also an opportunity to give back. He suggested volunteering to serve meals, donating to a food bank or visiting with people who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.

Harper is in Calgary, where his riding is located, to spend time with his family over the weekend.

He posed for pictures while visiting a retirement home in the city, playing a quick game of cribbage with three elderly residents, but did not speak to reporters.