Thanksgiving is about more than the famous roast turkey. Way back when, it was a time to give thanks for a generous harvest, but with more folk living in cities with easy access to supermarkets, it's transformed into a day to appreciate not only your family, but the entire world around you.
What follows are a few of our favourite Thanksgiving traditions.
Take a walk in nature
The leaves are changing colour and the squirrels are rushing about gorging themselves on nuts. If you're lucky (and live in the right areas) you may even see herds of deer in full-antler, or have flocks of foraging wild turkeys leave behind stray iridescent feathers in your backyard. Is it any wonder then that Thanksgiving is a traditional time to enjoy nature? Long walks enjoying the fall weather and scenery are also a perfect opportunity to bond with family.
Don't let stress overcome you! You may feel huge pressure to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving activities and meals, but your family will enjoy it more if you let down your hair. Don't be afraid to veg out a bit - there's plenty of time for turkey and boardgames after you all watch Ghostbusters with a bag of chips.
This tradition is as old as time; the harvest supper was the topper to autumn equinox festivals across the world. Of course, the details vary, and in our culture they get rather specific. The particular foods we eat can be traced back to the first American Thanksgiving in 1621, that famous meal of pumpkin, squash, berries, wild turkey, fish and waterfowl that Pilgrims ate with the Native Americans. With the exception of fish, most of those items went on to become staples. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, baked sweet potato, creamed corn, stuffed and roasted turkey, squash and beet salad, and of course pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream for desert. These foods, and their beautiful autumn colour-scheme, are an incredible tradition to share with your family.
This one is a biggie. If you always want more, you'll never have enough. Instead, reflect on the small ever-day joys of your life. It's incredible that we're all here enjoying this world - don't let the daily grind overwhelm you. This is perfect day to let your family know just how much you appreciate them. One activity that accomplishes this is writing each other notes - this is a good idea if you have family members who couldn't attend, as they will no doubt tear up getting these notes in the mail! As Henry Van Dyke once said, "Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse."