Trick or Treat! We celebrated Halloween and as soon as November 1st came around…
Christmas carols, wrapping paper, Christmas lights, trees, and stockings; ugly sweaters, sleigh bells and Santa hats; Christmas specials and the ever controversial Black Friday! Wishlists, Christmas decor and early shopping for the season! Could there be a more wonderful time? Well, I like to think so. Does anyone recall a holiday called Thanksgiving? Does anyone know why it’s a national holiday?
Maybe we should rewind a bit. It’s Nov. 1st. What we should be thinking about is how the leaves are bright orange and the sky is the bluest we’ve ever seen it! Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A time to come together, share, feast (oh I’m feastin’ on pumpkin pie!), and show gratitude.
People will typically associate this holiday with pilgrims and Native Americans coming together for a great turkey feast and the Native Americans saved the pilgrims from starvation! Yay! Well that’s kind of true. There is a lot more to the story that brought us to the holiday we know now.
Both the Native American and European cultures incorporated a time for “giving thanks” most commonly associated with a plentiful harvest, rain after a long drought or a new birth. This was practiced long before the famous Thanksgiving in 1621. So what started the famous story?
When the pilgrims arrived they had lost many during the transition to the “New World”. Situations were grim for the survivors. There was however the Wampanoag Tribe who were already living here when the pilgrims arrived. From the tribe, Squanto, a Native American formerly captured by Europeans, came to their aid. He taught them how to grow corn, pumpkins, and beans and how to cook with them.When the pilgrims took what they had learned and created a bountiful harvest, it was time to celebrate. They spent three days pretty much chowing down and getting drunk with the Native Americans. I can’t really say for sure if the Native Americans partook in the drinking but there was definitely alcohol there! The turkey dinner can’t be proven but alcohol there was! Remember that when your setting the table! During this festival, the Europeans went hunting for fowl. They returned with enough ducks and turkey to store for winter! This was the only reference made to turkey. The Native Americans also went hunting and returned with five deer they presented to the governor of the colony. It was a time of appreciation and realizing that there was something to be grateful for. One document describing that day is Mourt’s Relation by Edward Winslow. He describes a three day festival full of activity and he ended with this; “And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
Let’s not forget that it wasn’t all roses for long. Within 60 years the English overran the Wampanoag. Cheif Metacomet declared war on the Europeans but it unfortunately lead to another gruesome story of genocide. So how did we come to celebrate a narrow window of “peace” shared between the two?
Thanksgiving kind of bounced around after that. Each president changing it to suit whatever was going on in the nation at the time. Until Lincoln decided to make it an annual holiday in 1863. This was because of many things going on; The Union victory in Gettysburg, the growth in population, the plentiful harvest, and some persistent letters from a Thanksgiving advocate named Sarah Josepha Hale.
Thanksgiving was a time of appreciating what we had and what we’ve worked hard for and sharing with the ones around us. Now it is a time of football games and hot holiday savings. It gets overlooked by so many. The number of people who celebrate it are dwindling. Some people don’t support how it began. Some people don’t want to interfere with their super shopping. Some people just don’t want to put forth the time. Whatever your reason, if you don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving that’s your decision. At least though, take one day to be grateful for something…anything. If you truly cannot find a reason to be thankful then go out and do something for someone else. When we help others we realize that we have something special to give and we feel more confident. We need to start changing the way we think. How can we have a perfect Christmas if we can’t be happy with what we already have? The funny thing is, typically the people with the least material items appreciate the world the most. When did we get so caught up with shopping and materialism. There is so much more to life then how much stuff you have.
If we stop thinking the world owes us something and stop judging each other, it becomes easier to appreciate what’s really important. You start to realize the most important things are always available to you and how much we actually take for granted. With very little effort the world could be a lot happier. For as many problems you find in your life, there is just as many blessings. It just depends on how you want to look at your life.
I hope Thanksgiving can start becoming what it was originally intended to be. A time to show gratitude, no matter what screwed up things are going on in the world. A time to share with others even though we won’t always have a lot or even be on the best of terms. Life isn’t perfect. Neither are people. The sooner we accept that the more appreciative we can be to one another. Don’t do something with the expectation of getting something in return. It’s easier and more rewarding to be giving when we expect nothing back. Don’t worry, karma won’t leave ya hanging. What you put out there will always comes back around!
Remember, November = Thanksgiving , December = Christmas. Show Santa you deserve presents by showing you can be thankful.
I am thankful to be able to share my life with the two greatest people on the universe, my husband and son. I have no idea how I got by before them. I am thankful for a family who loves me, friends who will always be around, a kick ass companion named Desoto (a.k.a my dog), and I am so thankful I can stuff my face on great food tomorrow! I am very grateful for my talent in art and photography. It is a gift I will not take for granted. I’m also thankful I’m done with this blog post because it took me forever to write it!
What are you thankful for this year and how will you show it? Share your story below! Oh…and thanks for reading my blog! Have a grateful day!