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A Perspective of Thanksgiving

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

By: David Retz (Expired article)

Solvang, CA -

Thanksgiving began as a survival celebration by about 100 Puritan colonists in 1619 – on the anniversary of their arrival in the New World. Apparently, the colonists missed the lecture on “wilderness training,” because there was barely enough food for them during that first year. Fortunately, the friendly Native Americans taught them to fish and gave them seeds for cultivation. The colonists celebrated by giving thanks.

Now, Thanksgiving in America (and Canada) is our most popular and highly traveled holiday: a guaranteed four-day weekend for most everyone. It has been a time for reflection on things that are often taken for granted: our relationships, the roofs over our heads, our jobs, our country, and the beauty of the outdoors.

Thanksgiving also marks the start of the “holiday season,” and - like Christmas - has taken on a new meaning. In fact, the holiday assumes new names like “Turkey Day” or “Fat Thursday”, as people stuff themselves, sit back, and watch football on bigger-than-life flatscreens. And, don’t forget to set your alarm for 2AM so you can be the first to take advantage of “Black Friday” madness! Are we losing the real meaning of one more holiday?

While food, football, and frenetic shopping might be fun distractions from our hectic everyday lives, let’s not lose perspective. In these hectic times we often forget to express thanks to:
  • to our parents, for their efforts in raising us;
  • to our children, for listening;
  • to our employers, for a job;
  • to our employees, for a job well-done (that’s worth more than money);
  • to our friends and family members, for their support;
  • to our leaders (our own cynicism and politics aside), for doing a thankless job;
  • to our teachers, for their patience;
  • to caregivers, for their hard work and long hours.
And many more.

Here’s an idea: get a small box of “thank you” cards and send them like Christmas cards. If you’re embarrassed to give a card to someone, do it anyway - perhaps anonymously!

If you’re facing difficult times, an “attitude of gratitude” lets you see things from a positive and hopeful point of view. On the other hand, if life is going better than ever, speak gratitude to everyone around you. It’s contagious.

In this Mad Hatter jump-start of a new holiday season, don’t lose perspective. Irving Berlin wrote a song that was made popular in the early 1950’s movie, “White Christmas.” It was called, “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” and was performed by numerous artists including Bing Crosby. (See: Lyrics). Perhaps those words will lull you to sleep the night before you make the mad dash to barge through the front door at Walmart.

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