Thanksgiving is a popular time for families to celebrate togetherness, special meals and to make memories together. Some people take short vacations to cabins or cottages before the cold winter winds begin to blow. Others enjoy the outdoors and the splendor or the autumn colors that decorate the landscape of our beautiful country. Whether it’s roasted turkey and ham, pumpkin pies and mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving is a tradition celebrated for many years in North America.
The indigenous held fall festivals to celebrate the bountiful harvest long before explorers entered the country. The custom of an annual Thanksgiving was brought to Canada in 1879 and settlers called it “Blessings of an Abundant Harvest” but since 1957, Thanksgiving is held on the second Monday in October; a day close to Armistice Day, a thankful day of peace. Thanksgiving in Canada is often linked to European harvest festivals. The cornucopia or horn of plenty symbolizes plentifulness and turkeys, pumpkins and large displays of food also symbolize this day. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to give thanks.
When our home was filled with the sweet smell of roasted ham and turkey, relatives and friends gathered together in conversation, music and love, we would stand in a circle, hands and fingers linked together and have each person share something they were thankful for as we gave thanks before the meal. It always astounded me, how diverse the thanks of gratitude were spoken and how heartfelt each one was uttered from the lips of each person.
Since the pandemic in 2019, things have been different and traditions have been put on hold, cancelled or modified. Despite the protocols and restrictions, Thanksgiving can still be an opportunity to find the thankfulness in meaningful and creative and fun activities. Here are a few of them that can last the entire month:
- A thankful walk into nature to capture the beauty of the colorful trees, the crunch of leaves and the fresh, crisp air by giving prayerful thanks as you stroll through a park, forest or neighborhood.
- A gratitude board could be a bulletin board, the door in your home, a fridge or wall with sticky notes or cut out colored paper with reminders of all the events, people and things to be grateful for in your life today.
- Make a thankful leaf tree as a decoration or fill vases with autumn flowers and colors to enhance a room. Put on a pot of mulled cider with cinnamon and spell the aroma in the air.
- Send thank you cards or letters to people you love and care about sharing with them what it is that endears them to your heart.
- Make a pinecone wreath hanging or a paper leaf garland. Instructions can be found on various websites or Pinterest
- Start a gratitude journal or begin and end your day speaking 10 things you are grateful for.
Even though Thanksgiving falls in October in Canada and in November in the States, wherever we are in the world, we can be thankful each day. We are thankful for our freedoms, our families, our communities and comfortable ways of life. Looking to nature and the beauty that beholds our eye is worth the care Mother Nature is deserving of. Simple things like a smile to a stranger, a kind word to a friend and the love we can share through actions and prayers can certainly make someone’s day. To the Creator of the Universe, all our blessings are worth celebrating each day.