The traditional holiday of Thanksgiving is synonymous with pumpkin pie, turkey, and family togetherness. Not only is this a welcome break in everyone's busy lives to spend time together and watch a bit of football, it is also an opportunity to give thanks for all of the blessings you've enjoyed this year - big or small.
Every elementary school student knows the basic story of Thanksgiving. Pilgrims (occasionally correctly called Puritans) came from England on the Mayflower, got into a bit of trouble, and found help from the Native Americans, or Indians, of the region. When it was time for harvest the next year, and the Pilgrims reaped enough to easily last them through the winter, they invited their Indian friends over for a bit of a feast Ė complete with turkey, pumpkins, and prayers of Thanksgiving.
Of course, the story we know is rather whitewashed and blends a great deal of myth in with the facts. Despite this, Thanksgiving remains one of the least commercialized holidays, most likely because it is not a gift giving occasion. Regardless of the faults in the original story, Thanksgiving has come to mean a great deal to us, today.
One of the nicest aspects of Thanksgiving is that it represents a break from work and school. Around the country, schools offer students a couple of days or even a full week of vacation. Most businesses offer employees two or three days of vacation as well. This makes Thanksgiving an ideal time to relax and take a breather from the frantic first months of a new school year or simply a chance to enjoy the cooler weather.
Thanksgiving offers extended families an opportunity to come together for a visit. Some households invite upwards of twenty people to dinner, while others might keep it smaller and low key. Even if you can't stand to hear how much you've grown or dread the cheek pinching you know is coming, humor your older relatives. At least you have some time to hang out with any friends and family home for the week from college.
Preparing for the Holidays
For a great deal of people, Thanksgiving is the first day of preparations for the holiday season. Christmas and Hanukah are a short month away and many stores know this. The day after Thanksgiving sales are some of the largest throughout the year, and many individuals flock to the malls to begin shopping for presents. Another piece of preparing for the holidays is to begin unpacking the decorations. Setting up Christmas trees or menorahs, hanging lights or setting up the giant glowing Santa are all part of the fun.
There are many other traditions surrounding Thanksgiving including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and many football games. Whatever you're doing this Thanksgiving, take the time to let your friends and family know how much you care about them and spend some time relaxing and having fun together. After all, that is what the Pilgrims did all those years ago, and that part of the tradition at least is a great idea for everyone.