Thanksgiving: An Opportunity for Gratitude and Appreciation

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”– Melody Beattie

This Thursday, 22 November, our son, his lovely American wife, her family and all the US will observe Thanksgiving, a time for delicious meals, reflection and affection. But regardless of where we are and where we live or which holidays we celebrate, we can all agree that gratitude and appreciation make the world a much better place. 

We lived in San Diego for four years, and as our youngest son has been living in America for over 10 years, we feel connected to the USA. We have experienced how precious this special day represents for them.

Thanksgiving is a precious time of the year when all Americans come together to celebrate what they are thankful for - either with family and friends. It is is a cultural holiday that symbolises peace, thankfulness, and the beginning of the holiday season. 

What is the History of Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. 

The annual feast is in honour of the “first” Thanksgivings in America, in 1619 in Virginia, and in 1621, when colonists in Plymouth, Massachusetts, later known as the Pilgrims, shared a meal with the Wampanoag Indians, who were native to the land.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by George Washington after a request by Congress. However, in 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day in November. Franklin D Roosevelt's presidency officially scheduled it for the fourth Thursday in November.

What do People eat on Thanksgiving?

Many families share with the entire family the food preparation. Thanksgiving is typically celebrated by having a big meal with turkey as the centrepiece. Other foods may include stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Pumpkin, apple, pecan, and cherry pies are classic pies served as desserts 

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How is it Celebrated?

Traditionally, families gather around the Thanksgiving table and share what they’re grateful for. When all the guests have arrived and settled in, someone passes around pens and paper and a basket or bowl.  Everyone writes down something they are grateful for and add it to the basket. Later in the evening,  the basket goes around and have people randomly choose a paper to read out loud. 

It is a day of relaxation and joy. People may watch multiple NFL teams playing on the day, the Thanksgiving Day parade, volunteering, and playing games are part of the celebration.

The world’s largest Thanksgiving parade includes giant balloons of cartoons that float above the city sky, as well as marching bands and dancers.

In schools, children learn about the holiday by colouring in pictures of Pilgrims and turkeys and the Mayflower, the ship the colonists arrived on.

Which Other Countries Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is one of the most central cultural holidays in America. However, Canada also has its own Thanksgiving Day, on the second Monday in October, Liberia celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November. Norfolk Island is, technically speaking, not a country. It's a tiny Australian territory in the Pacific Ocean, between Australia and New Zealand, they celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November.

Why is Black Friday so Popular?

The earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday applied to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context. It originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.

It’s the traditional starting day for the holiday shopping season. Historically, it’s also been the best day to find great deals. Shops slash their prices for a limited time and consumers camp out in front of them to wait for these sales. Black Friday is great for budget-conscious shoppers.

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What if we can make every day a Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is celebrated once every year to show gratefulness for all the blessings we receive. But what if we treat every day as a day of an attitude of gratitude and appreciation? 

I have a lot to be thankful for as a wife, mother, grandmother and entrepreneur. I appreciate very much all the fantastic people who allow me to share my life with them. 

Gratitude and appreciation feed a mindset that enables us to see the good in those around us, and it expands to the world at large.

Imagine giving thanks every single day. Imagine starting your day with a few minutes of contemplation of appreciation for someone or something. 

What if we can focus on the positive aspects of our partner, children, friends, acquaintances or anyone we happen to be with?

I am fortunate to enjoy a magnificent view of the Swan River and Sir James Mitchell Park from my apartment windows. On my daily walks, I admire these surroundings and every single day I express my gratitude and appreciation for having this privilege. 

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How often do you stop to reflect on what we are grateful for? How often tell your loved one or anyone you love or be thankful for how fortunate you are to have them in your life?

There is so much to be grateful for, the delicious food you like, the uplifting music you enjoy, the beautiful natural environment you live in. When you begin each directing your attention towards gratitude and appreciation, you start to train your mind to focus on the good that you desire, and if you do it for a few minutes each day, you will see the great benefits it will bring into your life.  

Giving thanks may be the best gift that you can give to others—and to yourself. And, like the best things in life, it’s free.

Take time every single day to reflect on what you are grateful for and share those positive vibes with the people around you.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day!

With much appreciation

Luci

P.S. How do you express your gratitude and appreciation to those around you? We can all learn from others. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.