The first Thanksgiving feast took place nearly four hundred years ago, in 1621. The 53 pilgrims who had survived the harsh winter and lived to see their first harvest shared a feast that lasted three entire days with the 90 Native Americans who had helped them reach this milestone.
While we all love the turkey, pies, parade, and football that comes on Thanksgiving day, here are a few ways to truly embrace the spirit of gratitude that the pilgrims celebrated on that first Thanksgiving in 1621:
- Celebrate your thankfulness by giving gratitude to yourself. It’s easy to get so caught up in the stress of life that you get stuck in permanent survival mode. Take a moment and recognize your gifts and what you contribute to the world. You share your love, kindness, hard work, your talents, and so forth with the people around you. This might sound self-glorifying, but by recognizing all that you have to give to the universe, it can be incredibly inspiring to share more.
- Celebrate your thankfulness through the power of hand-written sentiments. Make a list of the things you are most grateful for for the people you are most grateful to. Be sure to include details, not just generic sentiments. Instead of saying, “I’m thankful you love me,” list the things your loved ones do that show you that they love you. This will not only be cherished by your loved ones for years to come, digging deep into your own gratitude will serve as an astounding reminder of how expansive your fortune is.
- Celebrate your thankfulness by helping families in need. Perhaps the most beautiful way to show your gratitude for your own good fortune is by helping families in need both throughout the holiday season, and always. We all have so much, when there are people who have so little.
You could hand out meals to homeless people on Thanksgiving day, you could make charitable donations or even gently-used clothing donations to organizations that are dedicated to helping families in need, you could volunteer with an organization that supports a cause dear to your heart. The sky is the limit when looking for ways to bless the less fortunate during this time of thankfulness.
- Celebrate your thankfulness by giving kindness to those who don’t deserve it. This one is the most difficult. It’s hard to show kindness when you feel hurt, angry, or disrespected. Instead of lashing out and putting more unkindness in the world, close your eyes and dwell on the things that you are thankful for. Your family, your health, the friends who bring you joy, chocolate, etc. When you’ve found your zen again, respond the the unkindness you’ve received with kindness.
Many times, people act unkindly because of their own personal battles that you might not be aware of. Just as the Native Americans taught the pilgrims how to sow a harvest in their strange new land out of kindness, by showing kindness to a person who least deserves it, you plant seeds of thankfulness in their hearts.
What is your favorite way to share your gratitude during the season of Thanksgiving? Please share them in the comment section below!