Next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is the most treasured family holiday of the year. So, what is it about Thanksgiving that warms our hearts and motivates us to spend hours preparing for a feast and often travelling long distances to be with our loved ones?
It’s that special feeling of reconnecting around a table laden with a special meal, catching up over a glass of beer during a hockey or football game, or a glass of wine while sharing the cooking duties. A hug from a family member or a friend. It’s a simple magic that draws us together every Thanksgiving.
Its tradition is rooted in gratitude. Many people in North America think of the 1621 celebration by the settlers at Plymouth as the origin of the tradition but the first noted thanksgiving celebration in the New World took place in 1578 when Sir Martin Frobisher arrived in Canada after a long journey from England. Frobisher and his crew celebrated with mushy peas and salt beef. Thankfully the traditions - and the meals - have evolved since then!
However or whenever we think Thanksgiving began, the whole point was… gratitude. And in 2020 what do we have to be thankful for more than anything else? Family, of course.
Many families have different traditions: some go around the table at dinner and offer one thing they are each thankful for from the present year. Some fight over the wishbone. And everybody eats special food. A lot of special food.
In the light of Covid, Thanksgiving will look different in a lot of homes this year but togetherness isn’t just about proximity.
So what can we do to still feel the warmth and comfort of Thanksgiving?
Here are some ideas:
- Make Thanksgiving magical. String up some lights on the backyard patio, play some music, set up cozy blankets for each guest to eat food and watch the stars.
- Have everyone (in your safe cohort bubble) write down on a piece of paper what they are grateful for as they arrive. Read the ideas out loud and the idea that resonates with everyone gets to take home the leftover pumpkin pie.
- Create new traditions that help focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have. Ideas include to bring and share a handwritten family recipe that everyone makes the following year, or bring your best thanksgiving joke to see what gathers the best laugh.
- Donate food to the local food bank so those less fortunate can also enjoy Thanksgiving.
- Set up after Thanksgiving dinner Zoom calls this week to wish loved ones near and far a happy Thanksgiving.
- Have fun and play games! There’s nothing like a game of ‘pin the tail on the turkey’ to bring out the inner child in all of us.
- Set up a silly Thanksgiving photo booth and a polaroid camera. Leave the rest up to our imaginations.
- In short: make it good by remembering what Thanksgiving is all about!
The most important ingredient of Thanksgiving is always going to be family. And that’s something to be thankful for.
We hope you have a warm and connected Thanksgiving!