Grateful

Give Thanksgiving it’s fair share of celebrating! It’s a beautiful time to stop and take stock of all that we are blessed with. 

The best way I’ve found to make holidays lighter, is to be very deliberate about how we celebrate them. Choosing only those activities that lift us up and passing on those that drag us into holiday frenzy!

I’ve often thought that Thanksgiving gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop where celebrating is concerned. It’s sandwiched between the two well-celebrated holidays of Halloween and Christmas and is often viewed as just a big dinner on a Thursday afternoon.

That’s not ok.

This is a holiday of giving THANKS! Of gratitude for a year of blessings and bounty and all that we have been given. And even in a year that has had it’s share of heartache and trial, there is always something to be grateful for.

So, I thought to myself, “How do I celebrate that?”

I came up with three things that I wanted to incorporate into our Thanksgiving celebration. (I like threes, have you noticed yet?)

First, a Thankful Tree. Beginning on November 1st, every night at the dinner table we’ve talked about things that we are thankful to have. This is great to do with 3 year olds who have no concept yet (though they do now!) of where things like, electricity, come from. I remember the first time I saw a shanty town in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. It was the first time in my life that I realized how lucky I was to be able to flip a switch and have light. Or turn a tap and have clean water. Not everyone gets that. So, we talk about things like that at dinner and then afterward everyone gets to write one thing they are thankful for on a leaf and we add it to our thankful tree. Simple, but powerful.

Second, a Giving Day. Around here, the beginning of November is when autumn finally arrives. We begin to have cooler days and it’s time to break out the cold weather clothes. It’s the perfect time to sort through everything and see what has been grown out of and is ready to be donated to another home. While you’re at it, go through the toys (in preparation for the new ones you know are coming in December). And if you’re really feeling adventurous, go through the house! Find those items that you no longer use, that are gathering dust, that someone else could really use. Scoop everything up, load up your minivan (or car of choice), and find a reputable place to donate those items. Someone will be very thankful for your giving!

Third, a Thanksgiving Feast. Yes, I’m all for the big meal. Food is nourishing and wonderful and brings our family and friends together. And the food of autumn is a beautiful bounty worth celebrating. To keep it lighter in my body, I’m sticking to truly autumn foods: potatoes, squash, green beans, persimmons, pomegranates, cranberry, apples, pears, pumpkins. And yes, there will be a turkey. But I’m skipping on any marshmallows or similar heavy-feeling foods. (Seriously, I’ve never been able to do marshmallows on sweet potatoes. Blaaah!) And for goodness sake, stop before you pop! There are always leftovers. You can have more later!

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And that’s how we’re celebrating this year. Thanksgiving gets is fair share in my house! And hopefully everyone feels lighter by stopping to feel gratitude for the abundance that we really do have.

How do you make your Thanksgiving lighter?

 

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