Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

As a Canadian, I always think of Thanksgiving as an October holiday. And on the surface, this might appear to be the only difference between the two countries’ celebrations. After all, they are both centered around a turkey dinner served to family and friends. But at the same time, the American version has always seemed to be a much bigger deal.

(Photo: Design by Kelli)

Perhaps it is because it has been celebrated as an official holiday longer in the States? Abraham Lincoln made the proclamation in 1863 during the Civil War, whereas the Canadian government didn’t follow suit until 1957.  Or perhaps it is because American Thanksgiving is only a month before Christmas and kicks off the holiday season?

(Photo: Craftily Ever After)

Canadian Thanksgiving is actually older, celebrated by Martin Frobisher and his crew in 1578 in gratitude for arriving safely on Baffin Island after a treacherous transatlantic crossing, but I don’t remember ever learning that in school. In contrast, American children are well-versed in the story of the pilgrim feast at Plymouth Rock in 1621.

(Photo: Martha Stewart)

For whatever reason, the Canadian holiday is rather low-key while Americans go all-out with school pageants, televised parades, and lavish dinners. I was overwhelmed the first time I celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S. and was faced with a table laden with half a dozen casseroles and several varieties of pie.

(Photo: Savory Simple)

Talk focused on football scores, family gossip, and discussions of the best Black Friday sales. It was a fun, carefree day that highlighted abundance, which is fitting for a festival derived from traditional celebrations of the harvest.

(Photo: Tokyo Terrace)

One part of the holiday that I think has been lost in both countries is the aspect of giving thanks. We in North America live in relative comfort and I’m not sure how often we stop to realize how fortunate we are. I know that I do not thank my loved ones often enough for all the wonderful things they do for me. So even though this isn’t my Thanksgiving, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge my family who have allowed me to pursue my dream of being an archaeologist even though I know they wish I had chosen a more financially secure profession. I would also like to thank my American friends, who have become my family away from home.

(Photo: Real Simple)

This year, while the turkey is cooking and your guests are enjoying some cider in the living room, consider sharing with your loved ones what you are thankful for. You could get everyone to jot down their own ideas on cardstock and use them to decorate a holiday wreath.

(Photo: Simply Vintage Girl)

Are the kids getting bored waiting for dinner? Send them out to gather some branches while you cut out circles of wrapping paper; your notes of gratitude will be transformed into a wonderful impromptu Thanksgiving centerpiece.

(Photo: Life in the Fun Lane)

Or you could memorialize your notes on an annual Christmas ornament by either gluing them to the outside of an old one or placing them inside a clear ornament purchased from a craft store; over time you will create a festive but heartfelt keepsake collection that bridges the two holidays.

(Photo: Miss Mustard Seed)

I wish our readers a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you all for your continued support of Greentea Design and the Design Tree Blog!

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One Response to Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving

  1. Hi there,

    If you’re going to share my image would you mind going back to my site and using the one with my new watermark? Thanks so much!

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