American Thanksgiving is Thursday and people from all around the country will come together to celebrate with an abundance of food and cheer. Others will volunteer their time to prepare and serve a meal to those less fortunate. Some will choose not to observe the holiday, while still others may not be able to.
I was born and raised in northern Canada where we observed Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. I remember it as a day off from school, a time to catch up on homework, followed by a nice meal and my mother’s delicious apple pie. Nothing fancy. No relatives. (However, I believe Canada has since adopted some of the more festive elements of the American Thanksgiving.)
My own family and my husband’s extended family have taught me how to enjoy this joyous occasion over the years and I’ve adopted several of the commemoration norms, even creating a new one. It is now part of how we mark Thanksgiving, or our term for the day, Giving Thanks.
Before we sit down to enjoy dinner, I fill one of my large pottery bowls half-way with cold water and empty one or two bags of fresh cranberries; they float nicely on the water. Next, I place a tea candle for each person sitting at our dinner table on top of the cranberries and return the bowl to its place of honor –the centerpiece. Gathered around the table, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, we pass around a long stemmed lighter as we each take a turn to light a candle and verbalize what we are grateful for. Usually, it’s about something specific for the year but sometimes we can’t help ourselves and voice many other things we are thankful for. Sometimes my vision blurs as my eyes threaten to leak a torrent of emotion.
Last year we did not get together because of the pandemic and this year we will not be together either. But I will still fill the greenish blue earthenware bowl with water and cranberries and float my candle of thanks.
Thank you to my wonderful family who have supported me without condition. Thank you for encouraging me to find the guts to publish and for always being so steadfast in your love. I am so much more because you are in my life.
Thank you to all my friends and colleagues, my pillars of strength.
Thank you to all the volunteers who supported others this past year.
Thank you to every single medical professional and caretaker and staff who helped more than I can even begin to write about.
Thank you to the service industry who provided meals and food and smiles and encouragement. It helped me get through some rough days.
Thank you to everyone who chooses kindness over malice. Your thoughtfulness makes a difference.
“What if today, we are just thankful for everything?” Charlie Brown.
How did you find solace this week?
© 2021. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved
4 thoughts on “Giving Thanks”
My family has always just done a low-key Canadian Thanksgiving. I always thought that October seemed like a much better time for it than the end of November. But I guess it’s the giving thanks that matters, regardless of when it’s done. Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving to you too Ashley!
Your tradition is so beautiful, Thank you for sharing. We have been celebrating this year on Monday and Tuesday and I wish I had known. This year on American Thanksgiving I will add your beautiful tradition to our very small gathering of family.
I am thankful for you and our friendship!
I am thankful for you too Jewels! Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.