19 Nov 8 Ways to Put ‘Thankful’ Back in Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year for many of us. However, it seems like between the hectic pace, football, food and now shopping, we forget about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
The First Thanksgiving History
Thanksgiving is really about the first harvest meal celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. The Puritans in the Plymouth colony gave thanks for the bountiful corn harvest that they finally experienced. The dinner was actually a festival that lasted for three days and included the local Native Americans–all based around the blessings of having a bountiful harvest.
According to History.com:
In 1621, 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. 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.
So, Thanksgiving didn’t become an annual tradition until 200 years later!
8 Thankful Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving
So, how can you get past all the commercialization and food stuff and put real blessings back into the Thanksgiving season?
Thanksgiving Blessing #1: Give a short history of Thanksgiving before you eat and why we celebrate Thanksgiving.
Most people don’t even know the story of Thanksgiving now. So, not only will it be interesting but it will also reiterate that are still many people without food today.
Thanksgiving Blessing #2: What are you thankful for this year?
This is a good one to do when you’ve sat down for the Thanksgiving meal. Go around and ask everyone to name one thing that they are thankful for this year. Not only will you get to hear amazing stories, but it will make everyone focus on their blessings for the year.
Thanksgiving Blessing #3: Give to a food bank.
It’s hard to imagine, but many food banks across the country are empty are running very low. Food banks now are seeing double the families they serve, but have dwindling resources. Get your family involved in shopping and then dropping items off at a local food bank, or support projects online who provide this service.
Thanksgiving Blessing #4: Volunteer.
If you don’t do a formal Thanksgiving (or don’t go somewhere), then find a place to volunteer. There are many shelters that serve Thanksgiving dinners to residents or the homeless and they often need help. Getting the family together to serve or even clear tables will be a life-changing experience. I promise.
Thanksgiving Blessing #5: Make blessing bags.
Shelters, the homeless and children in need often don’t have basic hygiene items–shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothpaste, etc. Have your dinner guests bring sample (travel) size soaps, shampoos, conditioners and more. Then, after dinner have everyone fill plastic bags with one of each of the items. You can even go as far as delivering them to a shelter, a nursing home or even to the homeless on the street.
Thanksgiving Blessing #6: Deliver meals.
Those who are elderly or sick and cannot leave their homes often spend holidays very lonely. Get the family together to deliver meals for those in need. Contact your local social services agency or nursing homes to see how you can help!
Thanksgiving Blessing #7: Make a blessing jar.
Building on #2, after everyone tells what they are thankful for, have them put it in a blessings jar. And then, you can have your family add blessings to the jar throughout the year. At Thanksgiving next year, you can have everyone pull blessings from the jar and read them at the table.
Thanksgiving Blessing #8: Write a ‘What I’m Thankful For’ letter.
When is the last time you wrote a letter? (Exactly.) Give everyone at your Thanksgiving special letterhead and have them write a “What I’m Thankful For” letter. Have extra paper and even envelopes in case you, the kids or others want to write Thankful Letters to others and mail them!
What are some ways that you put the thankful back in Thanksgiving?