5 Easy Tips for Making the Most of Thanksgiving

The holidays are fast approaching…whether we are ready or not.  Halloween is a memory as the next celebrations commence.  Christmas catalogues have been filling my mailbox for a number of weeks.  Shopping trips increase along with the parties and calories consumed.  The “to-d0” list for most women multiplies due to the flurry of activities.  It can be overwhelming to realize how much needs to get done in a few short weeks.

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving, but it seems to get edged out by Christmas as the stores morph from Halloween  to Christmas decorations seemingly overnight.  A few do hang on to fall decorations for a bit longer, but it seems that our momentum into Christmas barely lets us pause long enough to enjoy it.

And stores may not be the only places rushing into the Christmas season since many homes are already sporting garland or lights and a few have Christmas trees up and decorated.  I certainly don’t blame those who use the warmer weather of late fall to get a start on these tasks and perhaps, it helps them to enjoy December without all the fuss of decorating.

This year, ads for “Black Friday” advertised that they actually start on Thursday for some stores.  Rather than wait, they have decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving evening to welcome the first shoppers of the “official” Christmas kick-off shopping day.

It seems like Thanksgiving is taking less and less time in our calendars and may soon become even more brief as even the hours of one day are given away in order to get a jump-start on Christmas.

I would like to offer these suggestions for increasing the impact of your Thanksgiving holiday before the day slips away un-celebrated.

  1. Be intentional about the menu.  Most use family favorites at this time of year that don’t get served at other times.  Identify your own traditional items and recall how these items became favorites…and who cooked them in the past.  If there was a blunder, see the humor that occurs when time has passed and recount the story with grace and love.
  2. While you are at it, take the opportunity to discuss family ties to the past, express gratitude for your family of origin and share stories of past joys and celebrations.  If the people mentioned are still living, tell them in person or by phone.
  3. Consider starting a holiday tablecloth.  Our family uses a simple white sheet and people who attend sign their name with the date each year (using embroidery pens that don’t run when washed).  We enjoy looking back at the friends and family that celebrated with us each year as it gets reused and filled.
  4. Each person can share one thing they are thankful for this year while everyone is seated.  For fun, add a twist that each person must choose something that begins with the initial of their first name.  People could get creative with adjectives at this point, but it can lead to a lot of laughter.
  5. When the prayer is said before the meal, hold hands as you express your gratitude to God as a united group of family and friends.

None of these tips are overly costly or time-consuming, but their impact could be priceless in helping you to ensure that Thanksgiving is more than just a hurdle to cross on the way to Christmas.

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