Thanksgiving has almost become the black sheep of holidays in recent years. Originally established in 1691 as a three day harvest feast between the pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the native Wampanoag tribe, it officially became national Thanksgiving Day in 1863 as proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln. It is a day to come together under one roof to share in a feast and to give thanks for the things in life we are most grateful for.
In 1924 the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was started by employees of the department store. At that time, live animals actually strolled through the streets as part of the famous parade. It was in 1927 that they were replaced by the giant balloons we see today.
Now, covered in the hype of Black Friday, Thanksgiving doesn’t get much airtime. With football and shopping and the building anticipation for Christmas, it is almost a prelude to everything else. As retail stores and shopping malls continue to open their doors earlier and earlier each year, there is little time to enjoy your meal and recover from the food coma before jumping in line.
To give Thanksgiving back some of its meaning, here are a few ways to spend it this year.
Give thanks to your health: Many cities host 5k or other short distance runs on Thanksgiving Day. Some are aptly named the “Turkey Trot” and are a great way to clear some of the guilt of stuffing your face later in the day.
Give back to others: Not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy a thanksgiving meal with family or friends. Luckily, there are great organizations that with the help of volunteers and donations are able to provide a hot and filling meal to the homeless and others in need. Whether you give your time, money, or food, it’s a reminder to be thankful for what you have.
Give a memory and a reminder: Whether you have young kids coming to dinner or a house full of adults, a fun and meaningful way to spend Thanksgiving is by making arts and crafts. Some construction paper, scissors and a little glue can create an adorable turkey. For more impact, have each person write what they are thankful for on each feather. The quality time together will make you thankful you did.