Why is Thanksgiving important? Many parents today struggle to try and teach their children the answer to this question. It seems as though the gap between Halloween and Christmas continues to grow ever smaller, with Thanksgiving being lost in retailers' efforts to start the holiday shopping season earlier and earlier.
In the hope of capturing early sales, retailers now stock Christmas merchandise alongside Halloween's ghouls and goblins. For kids, thoughts quickly turn from candy to the coming arrival of the holidays. Autumn's treasures are lost in this rush to sell and to encourage consumers to spend more. But there are several good reasons for us to hold onto the tradition of Thanksgiving, and pass it on to future generations.
The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast together in 1621. The Pilgrims had a great deal to be thankful for during that first celebration. First, they were grateful to be alive; approximately half of the original 102 passengers of the Mayflower died in the first year due to the harsh conditions and disease.
The Pilgrims were also thankful for their bountiful harvest that first autumn, thanks to the help of the Wampanoag people, who taught the new settlers how to make the most of the land. The feast of the first Thanksgiving would last for three days. It's important to remember that Pilgrims did not have the benefit of grocery stores, and so their very survival depended on a good harvest to sustain them through the stark winter months ahead.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about counting our blessings and sharing a meal with loved ones. It is not about presents and shopping and commercialism. In our plugged in, high-tech world, Thanksgiving is a time when we can focus on the truly important things in life: spending time with those we love and taking stock of all we have to be grateful for. It is a time to embrace traditions, both old and new, and to celebrate our families, both the ones we are born into and the ones we choose. Many families choose to use Thanksgiving as a time to bless others who are less fortunate, by sharing their own bounty.
While living our busy day-to-day lives and dealing with the problems that our too common in our society, a poor economy, unemployment, or health issues, it's easy forget about the good things in our lives: our families, our friends, our pets and our homes.
There are precious few days in a year when we can simply spend time with those we love. Thanksgiving offers the perfect moment to pause and reflect on all that's happened through the spring and summer and to enjoy the warmth of those who will see us through the coming year.
Family-that's what we think about at the Thanksgiving table. We are all thankful for so many things, but having family members nearby is one of many wonderful Thanksgiving family traditions.
Popular Thanksgiving customs include turkey, football and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Find out how these things became a part of Thanksgiving celebrations.