Thanksgiving traditions and blessings

November 20, 2017 | by Mary Lou Mastro

The celebration of Thanksgiving is an American tradition that originated in 1621 when the Plymouth Colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast in thanks for the autumn harvest.

The celebration of Thanksgiving continued and, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held every November.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. The entire extended family comes to my home and we feast on turkey, dressing, mashed and sweet potatoes, cranberries … you get the picture. Once I tried to change up the menu and my pilgrims revolted. “Don’t you understand what ‘tradition’ means?” they questioned.

There really is something very comforting about tradition. Each year we say grace and tell stories about the blessings that we cherish. And, of course, there’s often a Turkey Trot to start the day, football to watch, and board games to argue over.

Two years ago we added a new tradition, Turkey on the Table. Each person gets to write what they are thankful for on the feather of our table turkey. My favorite is Ben’s feather:  it says “Grandma.”

turkey on the table crop

There are so many benefits of gratitude, that many therapists and self-help groups promote an Attitude of Gratitude. On Nov. 23, 2014 Amy Morin posted an article on Forbes identifying seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health.
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
  5. Grateful people sleep better.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength.

Starting each day by thinking of all the things I am grateful for places me in a positive state of mind for the day. You must admit, despite all the political folly, we are truly blessed as a nation and as a community.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work for an organization that promotes wellness and serves others in their times of greatest need. I am humbled and grateful to be surrounded by incredibly talented, dedicated, experienced and compassionate coworkers. And I am grateful for all of you who speak up and share your ideas, suggestions, concerns and stories with me. You are my Healthy Driven Heroes.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

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