Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year, is now less than two weeks away.
The holiday has always been special to me because it is one of the few American holidays that is not bombarded with commercialism and it also officially ushers in the Christmas season.
I don't know about you but I have plenty of reasons to be thankful. I can't list them all here because it simply would fill a book. It's almost a shame that Americans set aside only one day each year to specifically express their gratitude to a Supreme Being for the bountiful blessings that He has truly bestowed on us as individuals and this great nation as a whole.
The history of Thanksgiving can be traced all the way back to 1621 at one of America's earliest settlements in Plymouth in what today is the state of Massachusetts. Pilgrims, Puritans and Native Americans gathered to celebrate a good harvest. The tradition of observing Thanksgiving continued but the date of the holiday varied from state to state until after the Lincoln Administration. However, November was the most common time set aside for Thanksgiving.
In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress fixing the national holiday as the fourth Thursday of each November.
Over the years individual households have established their own Thanksgiving traditions, including a hearty meal consisting of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. When I was growing up it was early to rise to watch the annual Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade with all the colorful floats that we could only imagine because we didn't yet have color TV.
The smell of yeast permeated throughout the house as Mom prepared the rolls for the dinner table. She had stayed up more than half the night before preparing the turkey.
Following the parade, it was time for the traditional Thanksgiving football showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions always in the Motor City.
Grandparents, aunts and our extended family from next door gathered around the table for the meal of the year. Dad drew the assignment of carving the Thanksgiving bird and we all bowed and prayed to The One who gave us all of our blessings.
Depending on the weather, the kids spent most of the afternoon outside engaging in a game of touch football. The grandparents departed for home for an afternoon nap before returning for the evening meal.
I usually preferred a turkey sandwich for supper. The old bird was always just as good the second go round.
During the late 50s and early 60s there were no such thing as Black Friday waiting the day after Thanksgiving. Attention did begin to turn toward Christmas but no one went into a panic mode the morning after.
Page 2 of 2 - However, Thanksgiving was a 4-day holiday, two away from school – something an 8-year-old boy was truly grateful. Back in those days teachers didn't even give us any homework to complete over the holiday break. Truly, kids were extra blessed.
Television began in earnest promoting the latest toys, gadgets and gizmos that were going to be popular the upcoming Christmas. That was usually the time youngsters started checking out the Sears and Spiegel Christmas Wish Books and writing their letters to Santa.
Today, it seems we almost go from the Fourth of July mode right into the Christmas shopping season. Thanksgiving has become just a respite from a weary workweek.
It would be nice to have just a couple of days to stop and be thankful for what we have instead of rushing out to buy some more of what we want.