Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite holidays. And why wouldn’t it be? A day off from work dedicated to preparing and eating a special meal, gathering family and friends together, and expressing gratitude – what isn’t there to love?
Every year, Americans gather together on the fourth Thursday of November and consume an incredible 46 million turkeys (I know that is a lot). However, there was no turkey on the very first Thanksgiving, which was held in the autumn of 1621. 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians gathered together to feast for three days on plentiful meat and fish as well as harvested fruits and vegetables. There was no pumpkin pie or cranberry relish as we know them, but there were probably pumpkins and cranberries!
Thanksgiving would not become a national holiday for another 200 years. In fact, the existence of the holiday is all thanks to a woman called Sarah Josepha Hale, who is also responsible for writing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. She wrote a series of letters to President Abraham Lincoln over a period of 17 years, eventually convincing him to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
Listed below are ways on how to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends:
Cooking for large numbers is much easier if you delegate tasks and get prepared ahead of time. If your auntie makes the best-mashed potatoes in the world, your sister whips up crazy-good corn, and your mom is the queen of the pumpkin pie, give them their chance to shine. If you’re having a smaller get-together but you’re responsible for the whole meal, remember that most Thanksgiving dishes (especially desserts and side-dishes) can be prepared ahead of time. It’s so much easier to reheat than it is to try and make everything from scratch in one day. Also, most stores will offer pre-made side dishes – having a more relaxed day is completely allowed, and anyway, we won’t tell you didn’t make the whole lot.
Thanksgiving might be the holiday that is all about food, but gobbling until you wobble can leave you feeling tired and uncomfortable. Blow the cobwebs away after lunch with an energizing walk instead! Depending on your location, the end of November might be cold and snowy or the last hurrah for the golden colors of the fall leaves. Whatever the weather, put your boots, warm sweaters, and scarves on and head outside. It’ll help fight the sluggishness that comes after eating a big meal, burn off some of the kids’ energy, build memories with family members, and help prepare you for that extra mid-afternoon slice of pie. Whether you’re a pro runner or you’ve never run before, there are events to suit every level of fitness – as well as special kids races. Find a run near you and work on that Turkey Day appetite!
MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was in 1924 when 400 employees marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. The Parade marks the beginning of the holiday season and offers one of the first glimpses of Santa Claus. It doesn’t matter how far away you are from New York, gather together with your family on Thanksgiving morning to hear the music and see the amazing balloons. This year’s parade promises balloons for all the family, including Charlie Brown, The Grinch and his dog Max, Elf on the Shelf, Olaf from Frozen, and The Nutcracker. It’s the perfect backdrop to your Turkey Day breakfast!
Thanksgiving means the holidays are officially just around the corner, and if you’ve got everyone together, why not take the opportunity to snap some family photos for your Christmas card? Taking photos together is a great way to involve everyone, build memories, and get ahead of the game for Christmas presents and cards. Framed photos make great gifts for grandparents.
Last but by no means least, remember to give thanks on Thanksgiving! Gratitude is linked to our emotional and physical health, but it’s also at the root of this holiday. It’s important to stop and consider all of the good and positive things that have happened to us and to say thanks to those who have made them happen. Before the meal, give everyone at the table – from oldest to youngest – the opportunity to share something they are grateful for with the whole group. Explain to children why Thanksgiving exists (and that it isn’t just an excuse to eat turkey!) and remind them of the value and importance of gratitude in our lives. This ties in really well with volunteering, which can be done as easily by the whole family as by a single person!
What do you think about our list, Fabulous? But hey, it does not end there, you can always do whatever family tradition you have or if not, you can always start a new one. Don’t hesitate to comment below on your Thanksgiving tradition or any new ideas?