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  #11  
Old 11-09-2011, 01:48 PM
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What an awesome thread! I love talking about Thanksgiving! It's my second favorite Holiday.

To me, Thanksgiving is basically the opening ceremony for the Christmas season. It's the day when all the warm, happy feelings that I bask in throughout the holiday season start. At my house, we do have some Thanksgiving decorations out. Pumpkins, gourds, cinnamon sticks are placed in a centerpiece on the table, and, if it's cold enough, we keep the fireplace going all day. It's a day that's specifically designed for us to just spend time together as a family and talk.

For us, the day starts early. Here, we have this annual tradition of watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. It's starts at 9am EST and is 3 hours long. In fact, I think you might be able to watch it streaming live on the website! Bands and performers from across the country march/perform in it and at the very end, a special Christmas visitor closes it out! It's fun and it is really heartwarming to see families out in the cold, enjoying a decades old tradition. Spending time in the kitchen with my family, with all the familiar smells of Thanksgiving in the air.

For dinner, we have a turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes/yams, collard greens, mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, and green bean casserole. For dessert, we often have apple pie, peach cobbler, sweet potato pie and red velvet cake. After dinner, my family sits around the television with our desserts to watch the lighting of Macy's great tree (this is a local event that takes place here in Atlanta. A large tree is placed atop the Macy's at the biggest mall in the area. Before the tree is lit, performers put on a Christmas concert. This year, the winner of last year's American Idol will be the headliner for the event).

Thanksgiving is wonderful because it's a perfect excuse to slow down and spend quality time together. I love any holiday that allows that!
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2011, 01:56 PM
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Thanksgiving is wonderful

Everyone is really hitting it on the head, here. It's definitely about family togetherness, but it's more than that. It's the history of family togetherness as celebrated with historical family recipes and cherished memories of past holidays, but over the last few years (I'm now 40) I'm starting to realize it's so much more than that.

It's a day where I'm reminded how grateful I am for things I took for granted my entire life. My health, the good health of my friends and family, and an awareness that I'm at that time of life where those things are all going to start changing for me, my friends, my family. So I spend a lot of time being grateful for the good fortunes of those I know, and hopeful for those who are struggling.

I also think North American generosity really shines at this time of year. I believe the majority of us give time and money to organizations who can insure that everyone has a hot meal at Thanksgiving. And as for weary travelers, if you find yourself over here, Father Christmas, you wouldn't be short on invitations to a table, I'm sure, especially if you were in the Pacific NW.

At the end of the day, my favorite parts of Thanksgiving are cooking with my family and friends, the telling of stories about past gatherings... remembering friends and family no longer with us... the best turkey ever...the driest turkey ever... debates over stuffing or dressing... and watching holiday movies.

Regardless of feelings around the dubious origin of the holiday in the US, Thanksgiving truly is the one seasonal holiday that's I'm pretty sure is inclusive of everyone.
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  #13  
Old 11-09-2011, 02:08 PM
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While there might exist scholarly debate over the origins of Thanksgiving in the days of the pilgrims there is NO debate about the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

In fact, the Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 is extraordinary in its sentiments and they sum up nicely how many even today feel about Thanksgiving:

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their campus, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, he has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.


This was not the first extraordinary statement about Thanksgiving made by Lincoln. Nor was it the last made by a U.S. president (though it was, sadly, the last by Lincoln).

Abraham Lincoln was an extraordinarily gifted writer. He expressed so much what so many were feeling. His sentiments ring true today to many of us.
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  #14  
Old 11-09-2011, 02:25 PM
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Thanksgiving to me is most important. I do decorate, over the years I have collected what I call my Thanksgiving village. How historically correct it is well, that is a different thing all together. What I love most is that it is all about being together, food, and giving thanks for all we have. I believe it is a time to be grateful for what we do have, and although we should be every day, it is a time to really reflect. I LOVE Thanksgiving, it is very special to me and I often wish I could share my love of this Holiday with everyone.
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:24 PM
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I've really enjoyed reading your responses and learning more, thanks everyone.

What a great holiday and start to the season!

Thanks so much Flyte1 for this - "if you find yourself over here, Father Christmas,
you wouldn't be short on invitations to a table, I'm sure, especially if you
were in the Pacific NW".

I will keep in mind the Macys parade on the internet too.
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  #16  
Old 11-10-2011, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Westover View Post
While there might exist scholarly debate over the origins of Thanksgiving in the days of the pilgrims there is NO debate about the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

In fact, the Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 is extraordinary in its sentiments and they sum up nicely how many even today feel about Thanksgiving:

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their campus, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, he has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.


This was not the first extraordinary statement about Thanksgiving made by Lincoln. Nor was it the last made by a U.S. president (though it was, sadly, the last by Lincoln).

Abraham Lincoln was an extraordinarily gifted writer. He expressed so much what so many were feeling. His sentiments ring true today to many of us.
It's a shame people don't write like that anymore!
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  #17  
Old 11-13-2011, 04:53 PM
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We always go to or do some sort of dinner for Thanksgiving every year. But the Xmas Holiday Season is the big deal in this household, where we go overboard with decorations and festive food and try to have everyone over. More so Xmas eve than day. Thats where I have most of my fondest memories and traditions.
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