“He clothes his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.” Job 36:32
As the leaves turn their golden hues and the air chills, November rolls in with the subtlety of a whisper. But, if you blink, you might miss it, submerged as it is by the looming shadows of Halloween jack-o’-lanterns and the incessant jingle of Christmas bells. Thanksgiving, a holiday once revered for its simplicity and its earnest celebration of gratitude, seems to be fading into the background, increasingly overshadowed by its commercialized neighbors. It’s a worrying trend that not only robs us of our cultural rituals but deprives our children of the profound lessons embedded in this humble holiday.
Thanksgiving is becoming the ‘middle child’ of the holiday season, often bypassed as Halloween costumes are swapped for Christmas lights in what seems like an instant. Retailers leapfrog from spooky décor to winter wonderlands, all but ignoring the turkey and trimmings. As each year passes, this glossing over of Thanksgiving grows more pronounced, and it’s our children who are missing out on what this day truly represents.
The erosion of Thanksgiving is symptomatic of a deeper societal shift — a move away from introspection and towards incessant consumption. Thanksgiving asks for pause, for reflection, and for appreciation; it is a day earmarked for acknowledging the bounties and blessings we so often take for granted. Yet, in the hustle to grab Black Friday deals, we’re unwittingly teaching our children that material possessions hold more value than the intangible wealth of family, community, and gratitude.
It’s time to push back against the commercial tide and carve out space for Thanksgiving once again, not through grand gestures but through deliberate, heartfelt traditions that our children can embrace. Imagine a Thanksgiving that recaptures the magic of family stories shared around the dinner table, the joy of preparing a meal together, and the warmth of community. By instilling these values, we’re offering our children a foundation built on something far greater than the latest gadget or toy: a sense of belonging and thankfulness.
We need to save Thanksgiving for the children, to gift them memories that are about more than just a prelude to a shopping spree. Let’s teach them about the historical significance of this holiday, the cultural tapestry it weaves, and the power of giving thanks. This is a call to resist the holiday rush and embrace the slow, reflective pace that Thanksgiving rightfully embodies.
To rekindle the spirit of Thanksgiving, we can start by injecting the holiday with new life in our homes and communities. Engage children in Thanksgiving crafts that foster creativity over consumerism, plan activities that bring together different generations, and share stories of past Thanksgivings to create a bridge to the present. Encourage gratitude projects, where children can express what they’re thankful for and share it with others. And most importantly, let’s make sure that Thanksgiving dinner is more than just a meal — it should be an experience steeped in gratitude and love.
This Thanksgiving, let’s champion a revival of this precious holiday. Let’s stand up for the values it represents and create a legacy of gratitude for our children to inherit. It’s not about shunning the other holidays, but about giving Thanksgiving its due, honoring it as a standalone celebration that merits our time and our hearts.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
— William Arthur Ward