Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Making It Personal for the Holidays

My husband and I were very disappointed when we learned that we could not be with our military son on Thanksgiving.  We casually mentioned to some friends that we were just going to have scrambled eggs and bagels for Thanksgiving dinner, because without him there, it just wasn’t going to be worth the effort.  Well, they kindly invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their family, and we accepted. 

I wanted to do something nice for them to really show them thanks for such a lovely gesture, so I knitted a seven-foot runner for their table.  When it was finished, it seemed so “plain,” that I spent four hours crocheting around the entire runner twice and added a fringe to the ends.  When I gave it to her, she held it close to her chest near her heart, and her eyes teared up as she expressed her emotion for my putting in that amount of effort for her.  I have to tell you that I’ve never felt so moved by a reaction to a gift in my life.

She and her husband were doing something “personal” for me, and I wanted to return the favor.  Having Thanksgiving with their adult children and a couple who were mutual friends made for a fabulous evening, with lots of laughs and a yummy turkey….mmmm.

So, I’ve stopped buying bottles of wine and chocolate-filled baskets.  I’ve been working around the clock for weeks either knitting, weaving, or sewing Christmas presents.  I finished my last project for my “peeps” on Sunday (our office holiday party was on Tuesday), so I had a bit of a crunch for time.  While it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating when equipment has a mind of its own, I feel giddy about giving gifts that are so much of myself.  Clearly, it means more to the receiver AND the giver.

To top it off, a few of my dearest friends sent me “Thanksgiving” e-mails, enumerating the reasons they felt grateful for having me in their lives.  It blew my mind.  It is incredibly touching to know that you matter to someone.

I’m writing these stories to urge you all to do the same this Christmas.  Don’t buy a card – write to that person and let them know why they matter to you and what you appreciate about them and how you feel grateful for them.  Instead of purchasing something generally useless that they might never use and will not cause them to reflect on your relationship, make something or do something.  For example:  plant some flowers on either side of their front door; make a rocking chair for the back porch; fix something on their property; take their kids for the night so they can have a romantic time to themselves….the list of possibilities is endless.

Make it personal, and that doesn’t require ridiculous expenditures for gifts that ultimately don’t matter. 

Oh, and one more thing.  We will see our kidlet for Christmas.  The tree is already up.

Quote of the Week

On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge our dependence.
               – William Jennings Bryan
                  American Politician and Orator (1860-1925)
                  US Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

I came across this poem recently, and today’s the perfect day to share it with all of you.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell.
Upon the day of bygone years,  the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago.
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head.
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

It may be I’m old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We’re too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lieves within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin
And whether living far or near, they all came trooping in
With shouts of “Hello, daddy!” as they fairly stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

Then laughter rang throughout the home, and Oh, the jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank bought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we’d gone through;
We gathered round the fireside.  How fast the hours would fly-
It seemed before we’d settled down ’twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.




 I just want to smack those few parents across the country who are causing a ruckus, attempting to eliminate Thanksgiving pageants, celebrations, and dress-up for small children because they are “offended” by the “Indian” garb (“stereotyping Indians,” they say) or the supposed whitewashing of the history of the conflict between Europeans and original natives of this land.


My family has traveled extensively in the Southwest and do we have stories…one in particular was the day we climbed up a steep mesa some hundreds of feet in the August heat to be greeted by hovels for homes but a spectacular view.  I questioned our guide as to why people would have ever lived up here on this barren rock formation with no ability to plant because the only water was rain or water carried up the difficult trail.  He said at first, “look at these beautiful views.”  Well, they were breath-taking.  But the living conditions were seemingly below the minimum allowable for human beings.  He then continued with, “Living up here gave great safety to the tribe from other tribes who would rob, kill our young men, and then take our women, children, cattle and possessions.”





Nonetheless, having school children enact scenes of peace and mutual respect and camaraderie does nothing to defame the indigenous population or the fleeing Europeans…in spite of the funny looking clothes (oh, and “Goth” looks any better?).


I am concerned, as are many others, with the growing trend of one “offended” person having sufficient power to rip away the fabric of American tradition; of small groups rebelling violently against fair, democratic elections, and the fearful gutlessness of those who stand by and let this all happen.