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Thanksgiving – The Wonderful American Tradition of Gratitude

Thanksgiving sets in motion a period of celebrations that starts from the month of November and lasts till the end of the year. Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a festive day celebrated in order to offer gratitude to God for the American independence from colonization. It is a time of fun, parties and celebrations. People take part in the Thanksgiving celebrations with great enthusiasm.

Historical Significance of Thanksgiving


In the first half of the sixteenth century, a few freedom seeking individuals including pilgrims and commoners sailed on a ship known as Mayflower, from Plymouth, England. They were in search of a land where they could practice their religion peacefully and freely. After an arduous journey and lot of hardships, they finally found the land and settled down.

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Unfortunately, a sudden outbreak of contagious disease and adverse climatic conditions killed almost half of the crew. With the aid of the native Indians, the surviving crew members were able to overcome the adversity and emerge prosperous the following year as they managed to reap a generous harvest. In order to offer their gratitude to God and the natives, these people celebrated with a grand feast that lasted for 3 days. This established the practice of celebrating Thanksgiving in America.

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Thanksgiving Celebrations

Thanksgiving is considered as the official beginning of the festive season that leads to the grand Christmas celebrations. It is the time for family gatherings and reunions. Extravagant parties with sumptuous meals and lavish drinking make Thanksgiving a time to forget the woes and troubles of the passing year and welcome the festive winter and New Year with open arms and heart-felt gratitude. It is a day to feel and express gratitude towards all the good things including material things, people, blessings, etc. in our lives.

Being part of the American tradition, the Thanksgiving Day is typically celebrated in the extravagant American style. The preparations should ideally begin a few days in advance. Following are a few tips for making your Thanksgiving celebrations fun and memorable.

Planning and Preparations to host a Thanks giving Party


There are certain menus that are standard for the Thanksgiving day. Make sure that you plan for the dishes in advance to be able to prepare a wonderful meal.

  • Check your food-storage to see which items you will need to buy. Make a list of them and check with your grocery store, butcher, bakery, etc. to see their availability. Deciding on which food-items you will be preparing will help buy the right ingredients in advance.
  • It is best to pre-order turkey and other food-items and freeze them to avoid last moment disappointment of not getting the quality you want. Buy bakery items fresh on the day of the party or make them yourself at home if possible.
  • Make a list of guests and make calls to check who is coming. This will help you decide about the quantity of the meal to prepare. Also check if anyone is going to contribute to the meal by bringing food-items. Hosting Thanksgiving as a Potluck party is a popular trend you can adopt.
  • Preparing a roasted stuffed turkey is an integral part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Other food-items include mashed or roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree, etc. Bakery items include pumpkin pie, pumpkin leg-rolls, cookies, bread, etc.

Decorations for the Thanksgiving Party


Decorations for Thanksgiving Day should be festive and pleasing. It is a gathering of family and friends and therefore it should have a casual and friendly look and feel to it. Following are some tips for the Thanksgiving party decorations.

  • Decorating the table is important and make sure that you do it in advance with the help of family members and kids.
  • An attractive centerpiece based on Thanksgiving theme on the table will make it the center of attraction. It can be bought ready-made from a craft store or can be creatively made at home.
  • Arrange decorative scented candles on the table in a beautiful lighting arrangement.
  • Place a flower vase with beautiful and fresh autumn flowers.

Fun Activity ideas for Thanksgiving


Although the Thanksgiving party revolves mainly around the meal, there are many fun activities you can enjoy along with the delicious meal.

  • Many people enjoy watching football on the day. All the family and friends gather around the television set and enjoy a thrilling football game while eating and drinking to their satisfaction.
  • Arranging a fun football match with family and friends in the backyard can be a great idea.
  • Watching the popular Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with family and kids is another favorite pastime for many. Many participate in local parades as well.
  • Thanksgiving is about gratitude for the goodness in life. Why not take the opportunity to share your gratitude with one another? Expressing what you feel grateful for in your family and life to others will be a great fun activity that will also make you feel good. You could even start a gratitude journal in which you can write daily about the things you feel grateful for. This will help you spiritually to grow as a kind and beautiful person.
  • After the meal, it is time for some relaxing, leisure activities like watching your favorite movies with family, reading a book or taking a stroll. And if you feel like it, don’t stop yourself from taking a nice nap.

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful American tradition that attempts to remind us of the goodness in our lives. It teaches us to stop complaining about the ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ things and be grateful for all the good and positive things that are happening around us. When we focus our mind on these wonderful things and blessings and feel grateful for them, they grow more and our life becomes a life of fun, joy and celebration. That is the true message of this wonderful tradition of Thanksgiving.

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