As a child I remember Thanksgiving being a really big deal. Growing up overseas, we were far away from our grandparents, aunts and uncles so we always hosted other families to join us for the big feast. And yes it was quite the feast since everyone brought something to share but as I recall we didn't just gather around the table, we played games; pin the feather on the turkey, acting out a Thanksgiving play, creating our own turkeys out of paper bags, feathers and construction paper and sharing with one another what we were most thankful for the year prior. The day was all about being with our family and friends and making memories. It wasn't about football or really the food but just about having fun and sharing a day with those closest to us.
When I asked both my boys this year what they were most excited about this Thanksgiving, my youngest bursted out "the turkey shoot!" and my oldest "time to play football and be together". So then I asked "what about the meal? is there a certain recipe you want to cook for the meal or add?" They both had their favorites, gingerbread cookies and Nana's homemade rolls, but they both agreed that they just liked spending time with family.
One tradition my family has always done since I was young is have everyone write down on a piece of paper what they are thankful for from the year prior and then put them all in a hat. Before we all sit down to our Thanksgiving meal we take a moment for each person to read what another might have written down. It is always fun to try and guess who is reading whose and most of all to hear all the things people were thankful for.
The past few years, my family has continued this tradition throughout the year of what we are thankful for that day as it seems to help all of us keep life in perspective. When we realize the simplest things in life are all we need then we realize how much we can give to those around us and let go of things we don't need.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I challenge you to not only be thankful today but everyday. Start the conversation with your family and friends - what are you thankful for today? And see how you might feel differently when you enter back into the workplace or the busyness of the holidays. And yes, definitely enjoy your Thanksgiving feast but remember food is our medicine and so is laughter - we need both.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family today and everyday!