Count Your Blessings
A look at how we can embrace the traditions of Thanksgiving and be thankful for our blessings.
A Brief History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. There are numerous theories and accounts of Thanksgiving and its origins, but the most common story is that the day marks the celebration of the early settlers, travelling from Plymouth to Massachusetts on a ship called the Mayflower. The settlers were a group of 102 English Protestants, known as ‘separatists’, who wished to break away from the Church of England and be free to practice their own beliefs. Their pilgrimage lasted 66 days, and most stayed on the ship throughout the winter, where they suffered a loss of half of their passengers.
When spring came, the remaining Pilgrims, as they are now better known, went ashore and were greeted by a Native American named Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe. once a slave to an English sea captain who had escaped and made his way back to his homeland. Despite his past, Squanto welcomed the Pilgrims and taught them about the land and how to provide for themselves by hunting, fishing, and planting and harvesting. It is said that the Pilgrims then joined the Wampanoag Indians in a three day Harvest feast, commonly known as the First Thanksgiving.
As the years have progressed, the American Thanksgiving holiday has become a special time for families and friends to reunite and celebrate with a feast. Many people use the day to take time to be thankful for the blessings you have in their lives, and even if you don’t live in the states or officially celebrate the holiday, this is the perfect time to reflect and think about everything you have to be thankful for.
Embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving
- Although it is not officially a holiday in the UK, it is the perfect excuse to host a dinner for family and friends. Round up your loved ones and enjoy a meal together, and use it as an opportunity to catch up with each other’s lives. Take the time to go around the table and give everybody the chance to express what, or who, they are thankful for. This is a great time to count your blessings and reflect on all the positive things in your life, and celebrate your loved ones.
- Take some time out of your day to meditate, and use this time to reflect on your life at present, and everything that is going on around you. We all deal with challenges and stressful situations every day, and often it is hard to see through all of those things to see the positive things. Take this time to consider the good in your life, no matter how big or small, and the people who are there to support you, and keep you going when times get tough.
- Start a gratitude journal. Take the time every day to jot down a couple of things you are grateful for in your day. Do this every day for a year, and next Thanksgiving, read back on all of the wonderful things that have happened to you over the last 12 months. A lot of the things may be little details you may have forgotten about, and they are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face upon remembering them.
- Many of us are blessed with many things to be thankful for, but unfortunately others are not so lucky. Why not use this time to extend the hand of friendship to those in need? Maybe make a donation to a charity, or even volunteer if you can make time.
- Celebrate ‘friendsgiving’, and get in touch with those old friends you don’t often get the chance to see or talk to. Give them a call, shoot them an email, or just drop them a quick text; anything to let them know that you’re thinking about them and wish them well. It’s guaranteed to brighten their day.
However you spend the day, even if you don’t have the time to do anything special or outside of your usual routine, we hope that you have a wonderful time, and are able to count your blessings and be reminded of all of the positive things in your life.
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