Just a little football and family are enough to make any day a holiday for me, but Thanksgiving seems to be defined by turkey, casseroles, carbs, sugar, and overindulgence. We teach our children that the first Thanksgiving was a feast shared by the Pilgrims and the Natives in celebration of the bountiful harvest that followed a harsh winter. It may have partially been intended to build up stores of fat to help survive the approaching winter.
As modern day Americans, we do not have to be concerned about weather conditions making food unavailable. We have 24-hour grocery stores and shelves stocked with options. We can be thankful for this every day. As a result, our Thanksgiving celebrations can be more than feasts. This is particularly dangerous for those who are trying to alter their approach to food.
While overeating can make one sluggish, disappointed in one’s self, and unhappy with appearance, giving thanks will help you focus on the positive things in life and improve outlook and mood. This year, instead of recognizing the day by raising your fork, try one (or all) of these tips.
1. Give Back – Serve at a soup kitchen or shelter or make a donation to your favorite charity (the Fatherless Foundation is mine). Giving to others can give you perspective on just how blessed you are.
2. Focus on Your Family – This year my family gathering will be missing members that have died in the last year, at least one of which was not expected when we gathered last year at the same time. Certain members of the family will need our hugs, comfort, and distraction, and I will be investing in them. I am very thankful for my family and would rather have a conversation with one of the kids and make sure all is well with them than watch any Cowboys game.
3. Write Thank You notes – Have you personally thanked the people who have made a difference in your life in the last year? Be the first of the holiday season and make sure your message stands out by sending Thanksgiving thank you cards rather than Christmas or holiday cards. This is a fabulous idea for business owners.
4. Make Your List and Check it Twice – Before you make your gift list and think about those things you want or how much money you are going to spend, focus on the blessings you already have and list all the things for which you are thankful. Review this list frequently to maintain a positive attitude.
If you try one (or all) of these tips, even if you run out of pumpkin pie or your team never sees the end zone, you will likely have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
November 19th, 2009