In an age of selfies, consumerism, and forgetting about Thanksgiving all together how do we teach ourselves and our children gratitude? I understand that I’m a hundred years old, and that I’m not in step with the “times” but I’m increasingly surprised at how self-absorbed, rude, unaware of others, and our need for “stuff” has become so prevalent. How do we change this turn of events? Just yesterday, November 8, 2015 I went to an outdoor mall to attend a movie and what did I hear over the sound system? Oh yes, you know; Christmas Carols! Do you even understand the ramifications of losing Thanksgiving? We have lost the single holiday that acknowledges thankfulness, blessings we have, family, love that we share with one another, breaking bread as a community of fellow human beings, AND we have extended the most consumeristic holiday that Christmas, unfortunately, has become.
We constantly are amazed at how the “true meaning” of Christmas has been lost; but how can that be? How can we be shocked when we, ourselves, aren’t outraged that stores are open on Thanksgiving, and begin their holiday campaigns either before Halloween or shortly thereafter? It is up to us as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc to stop and acknowledge our blessings, our lives, and how much we are in love with our community.
I know that we ask the question how can we change anything, after all we are only one person. So, we just throw up our hands and go along with it. Change comes slowly BUT it won’t change unless we make a stand as individuals and teach our children that the Christmas season doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving. Here are a couple of thoughts as to how you can bring back Thanksgiving with love, and assist in teaching our children and ourselves the importance of Thanksgiving:
- Make a chart of daily thankful notes, post them in creative ways, and in areas that everyone can see
- Start the mornings in November with a special acknowledgement of what you love about each family member, get your family involved, and share a special note with each of them.
- Start a tradition that in November you share what you love about your loved ones before bed
- Share a weekly activity that exemplifies gratefulness and is fun to share together
- Stay away from stores that are open on Thanksgiving…trust me, the deals they offer aren’t nearly as beneficial as you spending real quality time with your family, and teaching by example what real gratitude is, and what blessings are.
- Support those businesses that aren’t open on Thanksgiving and show your appreciation to them by shopping only with them through the holidays.
- Think of ways for your family to show appreciation for your neighbors, and do at least one act of gratitude that proves your appreciation for them.
- Make your lives abundant with gratitude, and dedicate the entire month of November to show thanks and gratitude to those who have touched your lives.
- Don’t take the kids to see Santa before December, for Heaven’s sake!
- Try to make Thanksgiving a time that is fun for your family and friends, and a time that they look forward to; not just a dinner where we over consume food.
I know. As a parent you’re thinking what?! When can I take the time to do this? You don’t have to do all of this but try to implement one (at least). Make the conviction that Thanksgiving is a very important holiday, and it is one that shouldn’t be ignored.