Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to be spent with loved ones, sharing a delicious meal and giving thanks for all the blessing one has been afforded throughout the year. Even though this celebration dates back to when the first pilgrims arrived, it was proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 amid the Civil War.
This day is full of traditions. From the delicious meals featuring turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie to football games, which have been around pretty much since 1870, with the first game between Princeton and Yale. Taking this into consideration, I propose adopting one (or two) new traditions this holiday! Here are 3 Simple Gratitude Traditions to honor Thanksgiving!
1. “Gratitude Jar”:
Set a mason jar (or a nice vase), small slips of paper, and a couple of pens in the entrance of your house (or if you are going out take it with you). Ask all of your guests to fill out a slip or two. Pass the jar around before or after dinner and read the slips out loud. You can save or make the slips part of your holiday decorations and hang them on your Christmas tree.
2. “Circle of Grace”:
Saying grace at the table is a beautiful tradition that’s sometimes overlooked, especially if not all guest fit around the table. A nice way to modify this is to gather your guests in a circle, hold hands and have each guest go around and share one thing they are grateful for. If you made a “Gratitude Jar” have everyone go around and randomly pick a paper and read it out loud.
There are numerous organizations that you can donate this holiday season. Pick your favorite cause and make a gift. It doesn’t have to be a big amount, $5 or $10 will do. After all, every little bit counts. If you have a tight budget, you can give your time by setting a side one afternoon (or a few) and volunteering in a soup kitchen, shelter or at your local non-profit you have a strong affinity to (YMCA, CARE or Boys and Girls Club are a few you can look into).
Take Thanksgiving back and give it a special meaning! By counting our blessings we can make it more than just the start of the holiday shopping season and big sales.
I hope that adopting one or all three of these traditions will help you reflect on the beauty of life, appreciate everything you have and really take in the true spirit of Giving Thanks.