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Posts tagged ‘holidays’

How to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day and every day

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


4 tips for a stress-free holiday!

Could this be possible? To have a stress-free holiday? Well, I am all about being positive  but I really don’t think there’s such thing! Stress-free means that you are not doing anything and during the holidays there are lots to do. However, we can plan to have a fun holiday and not let the stress ruin the day. So, I guess the title of this blog should’ve been How to enjoy your holidays (even though there’s a lot to do!), but it was too long. So, here are my 4 tips…

  1. Plan ahead: Is there anything you can do before the holiday season starts? If you know you are having guests for Thanksgiving or Christmas, start preparing in October. You can buy and wrap presents, and who said you couldn’t decorate the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving?
  2. Clean the house: One of the main things we like (and ought) to do is clean the house. Start earlier (see tip #1) and tackle one room at a time. Make it fun and involve your kids. Have some drinks, some cookies, put on some music and clean away!
  3. Make a list: Make a Christmas list, a shopping list, a cleaning list, a guest list, etc. After you finish a task from each list cross it out, put a check mark, or highlight it, and reward yourself! (Starbucks, anyone?)
  4. Small Steps: If you start early (tip #1) and know what you need (tip #3), then you can do everything in small steps. Another main reason people stress during the holidays is that they want  to accomplish everything in 1 or 2 days… before the holidays! Don’t commit to something impossible, it leads to frustration.

Well, as I write these I am writing my first list: My Thanksgiving dinner guest list! How exciting! How about you? 

photo: iStock

Father’s Day: 100 years of celebration


This year is the 100 year anniversary of Father’s Day celebration. On this day we celebrate and honor our fathers, and all men who have acted as a father figure in our lives, whether as stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, or big brothers. Just like with our mothers, we should love and respect our fathers every day, but having one day to make it more special started 100 years ago. Here’s how Father’s Day started.

A woman named Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

One hundred years later, the day is observed as a time for family reunion, as children who are staying away from families take time out to celebrate the day with their father.

Just like last month, for Mother’s Day, I wanted to know how other countries celebrate Father’s Day. It seems that in many places, just like with Mother’s Day, we all celebrate it similarly. We give gifts to our dads or any father in the family and spend that day with them. But I also found some differences. Here are some examples.

  • Breakfast meeting for families is a common feature of Father Day celebration in Australia. Various types of games and activities are organized in such Father’s Day get-togethers to strengthen the bond of love between father and a child.
  • People in Canada wear roses to express gratitude for their father. Traditionally, if the person is wearing red rose, it symbolizes the person’s father is alive. Likewise, white rose means that the person’s father is dead.
  • Many people in South Africa go out for picnic, fishing or just for a meal in restaurant. (I wonder how this year is going to be, since the World Cup will be going on at the same time!)
  • The concept of celebrating Father’s Day is very new in India, however, they too celebrate by giving gifts and honoring their fathers.

How are you going to celebrate Father’s Day this year? Do you follow any tradition or do you do something different each year?


photo: iStock

Mother’s day around the world

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s day is celebrated in more than 40 countries! (I didn’t know that!) I grew up celebrating Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday of May by giving my mother a gift, or a card, and maybe flowers. The women in my family, my mom, grandmother, and aunts, would gather and spend that day together, usually at my grandma’s house. I remember gathering with my sister and my cousins and writing “poems” to them. That was fun!!

But I didn’t know how other countries celebrated Mother’s Day. So I did a little research and found that many countries do more or less the same as we do here in the US. However, I read a very interesting one, that I had to share with you!. In Yugoslavia, Mothers’ Day is observed in December. The children sneak into their mother’s bedroom and tie her up in bed. When she awakes she promises to give the children gifts that she has hidden in order to be untied. Hmmmm, doesn’t sound like much fun for the mother!!

To celebrate motherhood, I wanted to know how mothers felt about being a mother. So, I asked a few friends, What is the BEST thing about motherhood? Here is what some of them replied:

The hugs and kisses. No matter what happen that day, that hug and kiss makes everyone better!” –Rosible Ortiz, CA

To see myself through my daughters’ eyes”-Frances Centeno, PR

To witness every step in their development and growth as human beings and always feeling amazed by it”-Dr. Jeanette Cabrera, PR

So let me ask the mother’s out there reading this…what is the best thing about being a mother?


photo: iStock