Halloween is over, houses are full of excess Halloween candy, gathered by trick-or-treaters, leftover from handing it out to costumed kids or, in many cases, both. The jack-o-lanterns are starting to look a little less fun and a little more scary as they dry out, the ghosts, witches, spiders and orange lights are being packed away and we're looking ahead to the next holiday....Christmas, right?
Not quite. Without getting into the long list of winter holidays that happen in December, at least here in the U.S., there's still at least one more in November, Thanksgiving. It seems like Thanksgiving is getting to be less about giving thanks and more about another milestone in the seems-quicker-every-year journey to the Christmas/holiday season. After dinner is prime time for figuring out your plan of attack for Black Friday (if you aren't already out shopping), so named because that is the day of the year when all the stores books go from being in the red to in the black. I think the name conjures up feelings of dread, especially after having experienced a few Black Fridays both as a shopper and as a cashier in a large department store.
I have to admit, I'm guilty of glossing over Thanksgiving. It's never been a favorite holiday of mine. Turkey is not my favorite food in the world, I'm not a fan of football (thankfully, haha, neither is anyone else in my immediate family), and parades aren't really my thing either. I do really enjoy getting together with family, though celebrating with my family and then my husband's family in the same day does get a little exhausting (again thankfully, in the past couple of years, our families have celebrated on different days which has made the holiday last a little longer and be more pleasant because there isn't the rush from one big meal to another without really getting to spend much time with either).
I think Thanksgiving needs to make a come-back though. Not necessarily to celebrate the roots of the holiday so much as to take the time to say "Thanks" and truly feel gratitude for all the gifts and blessings in our lives. Maybe instead of celebrating with a huge meal that is generally made by only one person who is over-worked and exhausted by the time dinner is on the table, have a Thanksgiving potluck where everyone brings a dish and shares the work, and then show appreciation for everything that has been brought to the table. During dinner, express gratitude for all the good in your life (yes, I know sometimes it's harder to see than others, but there's always something, if you look). Instead of scouring ads for Black Friday after dinner, maybe have a huge "thank you card" writing party to send to people who couldn't make it to dinner but who make your life better in some way. Or, make a phone call (or ten).
Those are just ideas I thought of off the top of my head. I'm sure others can come up with even more ideas on how to take the holiday back and bring more gratitude into our lives.
I've been meaning to start (again) a gratitude journal. I think today may be the day. I've got one from when I did this a few years ago and it only lasted about a month, so the journal has plenty of blank pages in it. I think I'll use one of these tags below for a bookmark and maybe glue another to the front of the book, both as reminders for what it's for. I think my first entry for today will be that I'm thankful for sunny days, like what we have this morning. This time of year especially, those start to get pretty rare. What do you have to be thankful for today?
Purple Scalloped Oval Thanks Tags