“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” –Melody Beattie
Thanksgiving as a season gets a bad rap. It is the little stepchild between the fun of Halloween and the year end blow out of Christmas. Thanksgiving is often forgotten as the Christmas rush starts on November 1st. Even before the Halloween candy has been consumed, the Christmas decorations and products are on the shelves at stores, the Christmas movies are on TV and the toy advertisements are in your face. Kids are planning their list for Santa for weeks and overwhelmed by the festivities of the season.
But I think Thanksgiving is just as important of a holiday as any. Thanksgiving is such a significant time and it needs the recognition it deserves. It is the time where we say thank you. What could be more important than taking a day to stop and reflect on our blessings, the loved ones in our lives and all that we have?
Thanksgiving is all about the turkey as the centerpiece. Families gather around the table to connect and make memories. It is nice to have at least one day dedicated to reflect and give thanks without expecting something in return.
I know that other holidays are centered on meals, but Thanksgiving is the holiday where the only focus is on each other. Christmas is so busy with the lights, the tree, the trimmings and the gifts. There is so much to get distracted and stressed by that often times we are not able to really connect with our family.
Plus, with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, most meals are often eaten on the run and at various times from our family members. Thanksgiving is the day that is dedicated to sit together and enjoy each other’s company. You have nowhere else to be that day and no other festivities to participate in, just time spent together. It is a simple holiday but with a clear message.
I am doing my best to talk to my kids about Thanksgiving. We are talking about the pilgrims, the Indians and the turkey, but more importantly we are talking about what it means to be thankful. I don’t want this holiday to just pass by in the hurry to get to Christmas. I want them to deeply understand what gratitude is and how important it is to be appreciative of what you have in life. I want us to savor and enjoy it as a family. I want us to the take the day and really be together as a family.
If you are looking for conversation starters about Thanksgiving with your little ones, here are some books that are favorites in our home. These books focus on the theme of giving thanks and not just on the turkey.
- Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
- Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes, Doris Barrette
- The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings by Mike Berenstain
- Being Thankful!: Thanksgiving Stories for Children by Arnie Lightning