Thanksgiving Traditions

In a few short days, we each will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. Perhaps some of us will be doing the cooking; others the table setting and clearing, and one specially selected person at each Thanksgiving table will be saying grace before the meal begins, I am sure.  The days leading up to the Thanksgiving feast are hectic ones for many of us. Trips to the grocery store, trips BACK to the grocery store to pick up a forgotten item or two, and then yet another “final” trip back for extra milk, butter, eggs, etc that have been eaten  by a family member, even though you purchased them specifically for Thanksgiving! I wonder how many people, as they are frantically stuffing birds, mixing pie filling, and mashing potatoes the morning of November 24th are thankful that Thanksgiving only comes once a year? It is a tiring holiday, especially for those who host and prepare the meal.  However, to put things in perspective, let me share this interesting tidbit…

The first Thanksgiving, which was held in 1621 in Plymouth, MA had 143 guests and lasted for 3 days.  90 of those guests were Native Americans and 53 were Pilgrims.  Well, when I realized that, I became instantly more thankful; my family Thanksgiving will consist of 11 guests and though 4 of them are under the age of 8, I would prefer 11 over 143 any day.  And it gets more interesting…those 143 guests were served dinner that was prepared by 4 women and a handful of female children.  Yes, I typed the correct number. 4 women and their daughters cooked, served and cleared a 3 day Thanksgiving dinner for 143 men.  And now, I am instantly thankful that I was not born a Pilgrim woman! That statistic kind of put my mother’s request to prepare dessert for 11 in a new light; what was looming largely as a hassle suddenly became a very reasonable request.

My point this week is not how those women were taken advantage of, or how tired they must have been, or even how that specific statistic is left out of most history lessons centered around Thanksgiving; I never see those numbers on a Thanksgiving themed worksheet!  It’s the idea of thankfulness and how, at different times, each of us are thankful for different things. And, to an extent, what each of us is thankful for can at times be unique only to us and may not make much sense to those around us.   It is important, on Thanksgiving and on every other day to take a moment and reflect on the fact that it may not always matter what we are thankful for, as long as we pause for a moment to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is, for many of us, the true start of the Christmas season.  If you have small children, the Elf on the Shelf may arrive on Thanksgiving morning…to be hidden in a different spot every day until Christmas Eve. ( A tip from an Elf pro: once the Christmas tree is up, you can hide him / her behind a different ornament each day!)  Perhaps you head to bed early on Thanksgiving and rise before the sun to take advantage of Black Friday sales with a family member or a friend.  Maybe you and your loved ones spend Thanksgiving relaxing with Christmas carols on the radio and a muted football game on TV.  Maybe your children begin to write their letters to Santa, if they are young enough to believe and their Christmas Wish Lists for Mom and Dad if they are older.  For me personally, I know I will have the Macy’s Parade, a Thanksgiving tradition since 1924, on all morning. I also know I will drop whatever I am doing, scoop my daughter onto my lap and tune in for Santa’s ride down 5th avenue; for me that Miracle on 34th Street moment is the start of the most wonderful time of the year.

Regardless of how you spend your Thanksgiving Day or the long weekend that follows; look around you, at the shining eyes of your friends and family, laughing, smiling, and just pause for a moment. Be thankful, for all you have been given.  Be thankful, for all the love that surrounds you.  And, take one tiny more pause and pray for all of us who are part of the SDA family. I will pause and give thanks for you: SDA parents, alumnae, and the wonderful young ladies who I see here each day.

From our school to your home, happiest of Thanksgiving blessings!

Warmly,

Ms. Degnan

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