We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving in America.
The Pilgrims sailed to the New World on the Mayflower, seeking religious freedom.
After a long and arduous journey, they finally arrived at Plymouth Rock.
Half of the original settlers died from disease and malnutrition that first winter. But Spring came, and with it, new hope.
The Pilgrims met Squanto, a friendly Native American who taught them how to plant corn and catch fish, how to find nuts and berries and tap Maple trees for the sap.
In November 1621, the Pilgrims held a feast to give thanks for their safe passage and Squanto's help. They invited their Native American neighbors, and everyone had such a good time that they decided to make it an annual tradition.
Fast forward nearly 400 years later, and we're still celebrating Thanksgiving every year!
Why do we continue to remember and give thanks for the first Thanksgiving?
There are a few reasons.
1) It's a Time-Honored Tradition
Thanksgiving is one of America's oldest traditions.
It predates the founding of our country by nearly 150 years!
Every year on the fourth Thursday of November, families across America sit down to a feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
For many people, this is their favorite holiday. It's a time to relax, reflect on what we're grateful for, and enjoy quality time with our loved ones.
2) It Recognizes Our Nation's History
The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of perseverance and survival.
The Pilgrims had a tough go of it when they arrived in America. Half of them died that first winter! But they kept going and eventually thrived.
The story of the first Thanksgiving is an important part of our nation's history.
By remembering and giving thanks on this holiday, we recognize the strength and determination of those early settlers. Without them, America would not be the great country it is today.
3) Giving Thanks is Good for Us!
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can have some pretty amazing benefits for our physical and mental health.
People who count their blessings are more likely to exercise regularly, get regular checkups, eat healthy foods, and report higher overall satisfaction with life.
So, this Thanksgiving, take some time to think about all the things you're grateful for - your family, your friends, your health . . . even your second helping of pumpkin pie!
Time to Reflect
This Thanksgiving, take some time to think about why we celebrate this holiday.
Yes, it's a time-honored tradition full of delicious food. But it's also so much more than that! It's a chance to remember our nation's history and to give thanks for all the good in our lives - and that's something we can all be thankful for!
So, what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Perhaps it's time to put your thinking caps on to ponder that thought.
Maybe your holiday just got a whole lot better by not hosting this year. If you accepted an invitation, then remember to show gratitude to your host or hostess - don't show up empty-handed! You don't want to be "that" relative or friend that gets talked about as the "moocher" all year long, believe me.
A little gratitude in the form of a hostess gift will go a long way to ensure another invite next year.
Happy Thanks and Giving!