Here in the United States, it’s Thanksgiving. A time when we remember to be grateful for what we have. It is also a time when we, as a country, remember the first settlers and their first winter here.
The American legend says that the Natives here helped the pilgrims with their crops and with settling in their new home. As a sign of gratitude for their help, the pilgrims invited the Natives to enjoy their first crop feast. That’s the legend of Thanksgiving, and that is what the holiday commemorates.
As a Native American myself, I learned a much different version. The actual events were different, but that is not what this blog is about. This is about gratitude and sharing all with which we have been blessed.
The American Thanksgiving is also the sign that the holiday season is upon us. In fact, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a huge retailer push with unbelievable discounted prices to kick the holiday shopping season off. Many large retailers are now open on Thanksgiving Day to get a leg up on the competition.
Many Americans have railed against the practice that takes workers away from their families and celebrations just for the sake of the sale. In light of this, many retail stores are now reverting back to closing on Thanksgiving Day and opening on Black Friday.
When I think of this, I wonder just how we, as a country, have become so intent on profits that we would take away from the meaning of the holiday. For most Americans, Thanksgiving Day is about being with family and friends, enjoying a feast, sharing with each other memories and gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us.
Many use the holiday to volunteer at the missions serving Thanksgiving feasts to the homeless. Some use the holiday to volunteer at shelters or wherever they can make a difference in lives. I have one friend who volunteers at the local animal shelter preparing a doggie and kitty feast and offering lots of hugs and love. It’s all a part of being grateful for what we have and being able to share with others, even our four legged friends.
That is the real meaning of the holiday, regardless of the historical legend and regardless of the push to kick off the holiday shopping season. It’s all about giving back to others and being grateful.
For myself, as you all know, I have been moving. This week is the final week of settling in and cleaning my old space. And yes, I am VERY grateful! Tomorrow, I will join my daughters and their families creating a new Thanksgiving tradition.
You see, I have always hosted Thanksgiving Day at my home. Cooking and preparing favorites with love from my heart for each and every person sitting down at my table with me. Typically, I invite several around me that are not able to join with their families to join with ours.
This year, my daughters are preparing the feast, and have invited a few to join in that are not able to be with family – carrying on our tradition.
It is a much different place in which I find myself. I am only required to prepare the mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and salad. What I am so very grateful for is that my daughters are carrying on the traditions we practiced while they were growing up.
I am so grateful that they are the women they are. Both are amazing mothers and amazing women – strong, independent, loving, so very capable. As they each made their phone calls today to check on recipes, my heart was overjoyed. They both wanted to do the recipes just right – just like I made the dish.
As a mother, I am proud of what they accomplished and hope that I had a small piece of that. At least, I like to think so.
Tomorrow, I drive the hour distance to join with my family in a day of feasting and celebrate our blessings as a family. We have all been so blessed this past year.
Even though we have weathered trials and challenges, it is family that has brought us through. Whether it is blood relations, or heart connections, family is where our strength lies.
I have been very blessed to have created a wonderful family outside my own blood relations.
This is what we all should remember at this time of year. Whether in America celebrating Thanksgiving Day or across the world preparing for the holiday season. Gratitude for our blessings and for whatever family of which we are a part.
So, to you my readers here, I say thank you! Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for letting me be a part of yours!
So on this day of gratitude, from my heart to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!