Where Are You Thanksgiving?

Where are you Thanksgiving?

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The Jack-o-lanterns are garbage, bags of candy are stashed in cabinets, and Christmas decorations are taking over shelves.

Black Friday has become an invented holiday within itself. Christmas music dancing over the speakers at stores everywhere.

While some of us are stringing lights up and decorating the tree, others of us stand scratching our heads.... “What happened to Thanksgiving?”

What Is Thanksgiving In America?

If you try to define Thanksgiving Day in America, you will mostly like discover it was the first harvest by the pilgrims in October 1621. The first harvest was a three day celebration among fifty three pilgrims and ninety Native Indians. [2]

What My Generation Was Taught Growing up...

In my days, with the risk of sounding “old” we made pilgrim and Indian hats. We had a party and were taught on how the pilgrims and Indians came together to have a giant dinner.

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Against all odds... Pilgrims and Indians swallowed their differences and became friends. If it weren’t for the Indians the pilgrims wouldn’t have food to eat. They would have never made it another winter.

What kids are taught now...

Turkey = Thanksgiving 

Thanksgiving is about being Thankful. What are you Thankful for?

Some schools still share a meal, and you will find the rare that will still make Indian and Pilgrim hats.

Why Is It Different?

Let’s take a look at why this teaching has changed pace?

Dressing up as Pilgrims and Indians in school is no longer considered socially acceptable. (This is whole other blog subject. For, keeping on topic, let us move forward.) [6]

I personally love the new teachings but wish the old ones would also be incorporated correctly. 

 Many schools will still do a meal together. As a mother, I love this! 

What REALLY is American Thanksgiving?

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American Thanksgiving has been celebrated off and on since 1789 after Congress requested proclamation by George Washington.

It has been declared a Holiday since 1864 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national holiday of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficial Father who dwellers in the heavens.”

This was marked to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. [1]

Why Thanksgiving Is Important?

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Thanksgiving ideally, is a time to remember the things we are blessed with.
A time with family and/or friends. A day to sit down and enjoy a meal together and ignoring the hustle and bustle of life.

It a holiday to celebrate life. To celebrate joys. Celebrating tomorrow. Celebrating togetherness. 

But I’m Alone...

I have a friend that advertises on his Facebook page every year that he is having Thanksgiving at his house for everyone. Friends, family, acquaintances to his house for food and togetherness. He mentions that he understands holidays can be a lonely time for some people, and opens his home to all.

There was one year, I was living in New York, I thought I would be alone.
My boyfriend, at the time, ended up surprising me. However, my plans did not change. I had decided to go to Macy’s Day Parade and make a Thanksgivings meal for one, to treat myself and take time to be Thankful with God.

I’m not complaining I had company! It made it so much more enjoyable. But here is the point I’m trying to make in sharing these stories with you. Your day is what you make it to be. This applies to any day, especially the holidays. Don't neglect yourself, make the most of your life, and reach out to others.

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Why have we lost Thanksgiving?

For me, the first year Thanksgiving became different was after taking eight grade social studies.

Let’s face it, if the Indians didn’t assist the survival of the Pilgrims, history might have been different. This realism made me a tad bitter toward the holiday. (Of course there additional add to these stories...)
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"I no longer saw Thanksgiving as a unity, but a trickery." 

At the age of sixteen, when sitting at the dinner table with family, Mom had the special China out and candles lit; and while dad’s prayer may have been, “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub. Amen”

I knew how special that moment was. I understood how blessed I was to have the family I did and my wonderful, caring grandparents sitting across from me.

I think we “lost Thanksgiving” because some how “family” lost its meaning.

Family meals at the table are lost, game night is now a special treat, and evening conversations are filled with silence.

We are allowing our lives to be swallowed by technology. We plug on our devices, ignoring the world around us. We don’t know our neighbors anymore. Our society is being tangled by “What can I get?” Rather than “What can I give?”

Black Friday is more anticipated than Thanksgiving, moving closer to Halloween each year. Stores spring their doors open at five (or earlier) on Thanksgiving...for Christmas shopping... because Thanksgiving is over?

Our sense of entitlement is out of control, often forgetting about others. Taking a holiday meant to appreciate life, the things we have (the only holiday where the gift is coming together) and sending into a frenzy over material goods.

If we are not “Thankful” or “Giving”, setting aside our differences to spend time with others, the holiday is pointless.

What Does This Say About Our Today Society?

We know the stories of our grandparents, “You’re blessed it’s required to have an education. School was a luxury in my days.”

We know our parents stories, “I had to walk three miles to school. And back. In the cold.”

We know our stories, “School was never called off for us because it was cold. We had to stand and wait for the bus no matter how cold it was.”

And Today...

Changes sometimes are very good, something to be Thankful for.

But the changes made through the Thanksgiving holiday should encourage us to ask ourselves some very important questions.

  1. What values do we want in our society?
  2. Is “getting deals” more important than being with family?
  3. Are we so self centered we can’t take this one day to be Thankful for the things in our lives?
I suggest this year you remember Thanksgiving in a new light. Remember your past, where your are now and all the things that have made you who you are. Be Thankful for life, that you live and breathe.

Give a smile to someone who might be having a rough time. Serve at homeless shelter, make moms favorite dessert, allow the kids to be loud, or dust off the board games.

Let’s come together as a society to keep Thanksgiving the Holiday it was meant to be.


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