Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fun Facts and Thanksgiving Thoughts

Is Thanksgiving Day Just the Day Before Black Friday?

We have all been taught that the first Thanksgiving Day celebration occurred in 1621, when the Pilgrims sat down to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. It was their first here in the New World, and it was said to have been attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans and lasted three days!

While the 1621 events were probably not of a religious nature, the colonists of that day were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"— days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as a bountiful harvest, the end of a drought and other occurrences.

Years later, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed November 26, 1863 to be a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens". Since that time it has become the official beginning of the "holiday season" in the US.

Yet, the focus seems to have fallen from Thanksgiving Day and being thankful for what we have, to Black Friday. Getting up in the middle of the night or camping out days in advance has become as much a part of the weekend as the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. It has been said that "Only in America will people trample each other for sales, exactly one day after being thankful for they already have."

(I know, the post right before this one is a Black Friday special as well . . . I still have to make a living, ya know!) ;-)

So . . . let me offer a few options for giving thanks and being grateful:
  • Consider volunteering. So many of us have talents for which we should be thankful; let's spread that wealth around and teach our kids that it's not always "all about me."
  • Share things where you have extras. There are lots of places looking for warm clothing this time of year. The Minnesota Twins and Justin Morneau sponsor a coat drive in the Twin Cities; I'm sure there's something in your area as well.
  • Donate items to a holiday toy drive. I always approached this as another opportunity to teach my kids about the importance of sharing and being thankful for what they do have instead of what they don't. They were responsible for setting aside a percentage of their allowance for a charitable purpose. We'd go shopping and choose items that would make great gifts for kids their age. (As a bonus, it clued me in to the things that they wanted for themselves; it made my Christmas shopping easier.)
Michael Symon, Cleveland restauranteur, chef and co-host of "The Chew" said about Thanksgiving Day "My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can't figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don't deserve to be an owner."

Before you gorge yourself with everything delicious this Thanksgiving Day afternoon look around your table and give thanks for the people with you, the food in front of you and the memories of those who are no longer with you. Don't forget to say a prayer of thanks for the blessings afforded you over the past 12 months.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

- David

(featured image: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe)

1 comment:

  1. Good reminders, David! Thank you for sharing!! :) Hope you have a special Thanksgiving Day!