Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays. It is a time that reconnects us with family over food and fun, reminding us that we are not alone and that the love and compassion we feel for one another will help us through another long year.
Yet somehow this day of thanks has been turned into a corporate smorgasbord of shiny gadgets, long lines and 24 hour shop-a-thons. What happened to the gentle story of sharing that is the beginning of Thanksgiving? How is it that it became the kick-off for the freneticism of holiday shopping? I want to reclaim Thanksgiving by bringing it back to its roots.
I don’t know about you, but I have never attended a Black Friday sale or had the desire because my day has always been spent in other ways. Thanksgiving has always been about family and the annual round of cutthroat charades. Young or old there is no mercy in this family. The day after Thanksgiving has normally been spent packing up leftovers to take to people who maybe have nowhere to go, or are sick and homebound. One year when a good friend lost his father, making him and his two siblings orphans, my family brought them into our home where they could share the love and warmth of family though they had none.
As I try to develop my own traditions for the holiday, my girls and I have experimented in a number of different ways. One year, the girls made a list of ‘tasks’ they were willing to do for a price and then took the money they made to buy food, which we delivered to a homeless shelter. Another year, they walked the neighborhood drawing happy thoughts on the sidewalk outside every door. Though no one of these has seemed to stick, what’s most important is that they spend the day after Thanksgiving thinking about how to give rather than get more for themselves.
This Thanksgiving, let’s make it a goal to think of others while we enjoy those around us. Let’s give back more than we get and let’s remember why we have this day at home to spend with the ones we love.
What are some of your giving traditions? Comment below!