Month: November 2014

Forgotten Thanks

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I think if Sara Hale were still alive she’d be a little disappointed in our American society when it comes to Thanksgiving. Why? Because she is the one who wrote letter after letter for fifteen years lobbying to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday in America. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln decided since we were in the middle of the Civil War, a little unity would do wonders for our country. He proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the official day for giving thanks. Unfortunately, this day’s importance has dwindled greatly and been taken over by Christmas.

It used to be the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, was the official start of the Christmas season and shopping. Now, Christmas seems to start in October depending where you live. I saw Christmas holiday displays before Halloween. It made me feel sad and stressed as if I was already behind in making plans for a holiday that’s at the end of the year.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Maybe this is because it’s the holiday my husband and I first hosted in our home as a newly married couple. We haven’t stopped hosting since then and it’s been over twenty years. Our group of family and friends gathering for the day to give thanks grew from about ten people to over thirty some years. That makes for one really hefty turkey, but more importantly one very big celebration of thanks.

Since this day seems to be overlooked, I would love to share some ideas for Thanksgiving Day for families and friends who do gather together and celebrate. A simple way to give thanks is to go around the dinner table and have each person share what they are grateful for in their life. Sometimes verbally expressing gratitude is hard for people. In that case there are other options.

As guests arrive they can write down what they are thankful for in a special book that can be used year after year. It’s a nice remembrance of this day, especially since people move or aren’t around the following year for various reasons. Including the menu and mishaps is fun too, like the year my father burned the potato casserole when he turned the oven to broil on accident. Oops. They were still edible after scraping off the charred top. Although, I think my mom is still mad since she’s the one that prepared the dish.

Another way my family has invited others to share is to write down what their thankful for as they arrive. One year I used little pieces of paper cut in the shape of turkeys. I told the guests they didn’t have to sign them. They placed them in a basket and everyone read a note aloud (other than their own) before dinner.

There is no rule that says Thanksgiving has to be only about people you know. Another way to share the holiday is to serve at a homeless shelter. Helping prepare and serve food to those who would otherwise go without is an eye-opening experience. This doesn’t have to be exclusively done once a year either. It can be a monthly event your family does to give back to the community.

Well, I hope you reflect on all you are grateful for and celebrate this special occasion with those you love before jumping into the Christmas season. I know I will be celebrating and giving thanks, especially for my husband, children, and my faith. I can’t imagine not having all these special gifts in my life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Compliments of the Atchison Globe