Merriam-Webster defines Thanksgiving as “the act of giving thanks” while The Random House College Dictionary takes it one step further and defines Thanksgiving as “the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment or benefits or favors, esp. to God.” So in this time of Black Friday shopping, smartphones, and fast-paced lifestyles, maybe it’s time we put the ‘thanks’ back in Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving history tells us that the Pilgrims and Indians shared the first Thanksgiving feast way back in the autumn of 1621. The two groups celebrated the first Thanksgiving during a three-day festival of gratitude for the season’s bounty. The day was declared a national holiday in the United States in 1863 – over 240 years after the first celebration! Canada followed suit in 1879 – only their holiday is celebrated on the second Monday in October while here in the US, we celebrate it the fourth Thursday of November.
For most of us, the Thanksgiving holiday is just a day away but some of you may have already enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Personally, I could eat turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie all year long but I cannot convince Dan or my family to go along with this new diet. Luckily, on one of my last visits to Harpole’s Heartland Lodge, they were serving their version of Thanksgiving Dinner one night! It was honestly some of the best turkey I’ve ever had (except for Mom’s of course.) Thank you, Stephanie, for what has become one of my favorite meals at the lodge!
But with the Christmas holiday season just around the corner, I’d like to take the time to focus on Thanksgiving and reflect on things that I am thankful for. Our nephew’s girlfriend actually prompted my thinking of this at the beginning of November. Each day beginning November 1, she posted something she was thankful for on Facebook. When I asked her what the Day 1, Day 2, etc. posts were all about, she explained that “it’s 30 days of thankfulness” – and I thought what a great idea. She is now up to Day 21!
So what am I thankful for? Some days it’s as simple as being thankful for the sunshine while other days are more complex and sometimes more personal. I am thankful that I married a man who supports me in my life choices – no matter what path they take me down.
I am thankful for my family and the time that I am able to spend with them. I am thankful for my past experiences (most of them, anyway), as they have helped to make me the person I am today. I am thankful that medical technology has helped several family members battle cancer with hope for tomorrow. I am thankful for the friendships I have made throughout the years.
I am thankful that Dan & I picked up the brochure card on Heartland when we were looking for a place to go on our honeymoon. I am thankful that we have continued the tradition of visiting the lodge each year on our anniversary and the memories that we have created there. I am thankful for the opportunities that Gary and Wanda have given me this year - writing blogs and practicing my photography. I could go on and on – but I won’t list all of mine for the 30 days. The more I think about these things, the more I think maybe we should do this each day of the year and not just the month of November.
So what are you thankful for? As you sit around the table with your family and friends, enjoying your Thanksgiving dinners, take the time to give thanks for those people and things that you are grateful for. Take the day – the WHOLE day – and reflect upon the items and moments that are truly important in life.