Remember When Thanksgiving Was Giving Thanks

By John Turek ~

Let me digress! I’m a professional mall Santa Clause (more about this in Prime Time for Seniors December issue). So, before you know it I will be sitting in my big chair for the opening of Santa Land. Retail store windows are festive with Christmas displays and posters offering special holiday discount sale pricing. Shopping season is on . . and it’s only November 5!

What happened to Thanksgiving? Fresh turkeys aren’t even in the supermarkets yet. The retail industry calls it “Christmas creep”. The ever increasing commercialization of the birth of Christian faith and it’s sacred traditions.

Times have changed. And so have many of our holiday traditions.

Now, if I were to mention this observation from a grandpa’s lifetime perspective it brings a ‘rolling of the eyes’ from grandchildren who return attention to their smart phone where text messages await with updates on what has taken place in the last fifteen minutes.

Our young country has few traditions that define our heritage like the ‘Heritage Festival’ that was first celebrated in 1621. Fifty-three Pilgrims invited ninety newly befriended natives to share a celebration for a harvest that enabled them to sustain life in their new homeland. It was the beginning of an annual fall event celebrating every life sustaining harvest. In 1789 our Congress saw fit to make this annual celebration a National holiday inviting a great nation to pause and ‘give thanks’.

Think about it! We have a lot to be thankful for in the nearly five-hundred years that have grown these United States into a nation of unprecedented freedoms and prosperity. The forth Thursday of every November is our societal opportunity to share our gratitude and blessings with family.

We’re now in the 21st Century. Times are changing and advancing technologies are dictating these changes at a pace we elders are challenged to keep up with. In fact, it occurs to me we ‘oldsters’ might give thanks for no longer being obligated to the busyness and pre-occupations of our children and their children. Lifestyles often too busy for gratitude.

As you read this you may already be thinking about lists needed for gift shopping and Christmas cards to be addressed. Shopping malls are ready to help you, so get your credit cards ready.

But another holiday lies just ahead. The one our forefathers created to express gratitude for family and good fortune. These days it includes parades, Charlie Brown re-runs and football as well as family.

So, let’s remember, Thanksgiving is for giving thanks! The opportunity to gather loved ones together and mindfully give thanks for our many blessings. And don’t worry . . the fresh turkeys will be on sale at your local supermarket soon.

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