It seems like we just put out Halloween decorations and carved pumpkins. Now stores are jammed with holiday decorations, lights, and gift guides. I personally love the holiday in between – Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of the sentiment behind it. Thanksgiving is all about being thankful – thankful for what you have, thankful for those in your life, and thankful for those friends and family who bless you with their time, love, and knowledge. In a world built on instant gratification, it is easy to forget that the comforts we enjoy today were partially due to the hard work and sacrifices of those who went before us.

One of the very first “Thanksgiving” celebrations occurred in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast to celebrate their fall harvest. Thanksgiving feasts were celebrated by the colonists for more than two centuries until Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

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The first settlers to America suffered harsh conditions and barely survived. After gaining help from the Native Americans who taught them how to fish, grow corn, and perform other vital skills, the colonists were able to survive and eventually prosper in America.

Many people today get caught up in the preparations or get overwhelmed by the thought of having a house full of guests. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter what you serve, or how many guests can fit at your Thanksgiving table.  What matters most is your expression of thanks and giving back to others.

Hate cooking? Order in or dine out. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or invite someone to your home who can’t make it home for the holidays. There are many ways you can make the holiday special by creating your own tradition of giving back to the community. Give thanks to everyone who makes a difference in your life. 

If you really think about it, we all have a lot to be thankful for.  Let’s celebrate this season with a grateful heart.