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The History of Thanksgiving

The history of Thanksgiving (although there is debate about some of the details in the story) starts in 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. The festival lasted for three days (just like we do now!). For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Current Thanksgiving Traditions

In many American homes, the Thanksgiving celebration centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey is  a Thanksgiving tradition and nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked,  deep-fried, or grilled  (I can’t wait to taste it grilled!). Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Yummy!

Giving Thanks

The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for. It’s our special time to give thanks… not just for the obvious, like food, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

That’s not always as easy as it sounds. Usually, we remember the bad things much more easily than the good (why is that?). Here are some ideas how to make it a habit to be thankful every day:

  • Begin by keeping a gratitude journal. Don’t write down negative things; only positive ones.
  • Think of all the good things that happened because something bad happened first. For example, “If that slow driver hadn’t pulled in front of me, I would have gotten a speeding ticket.”
  • Focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t have.
  • Think about people who have made life hard for you. Now think about the things you accomplished because of them. Did you finish something because they said that you couldn’t?
  • Think about the animals that have given you joy.
  • Think about the places that make you smile.
  • Let others know when they’ve done something that you’re thankful for.

So, what are you thankful for? One thing I am thankful for, is your support! Thanks for reading my blog!

photo: iStock

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