Today is Thanksgiving. This holiday in the United States is, among many things, a remembrance of the Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together in 1621 to celebrate the harvest after a difficult winter.
Over the years, the celebration of Thanksgiving has evolved and shifted to a “tradition” where families come together and eat a feast. Traditionally, turkey and mashed potatoes and numerous side-dishes are consumed in mass quantities.
Other traditions have come about over time. There is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning. Numerous football games are happening all day.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the Holiday Shopping Season. Not so long ago this was most prominent on Friday after Thanksgiving, called “Black Friday.” It was a day marked with specials and sales across numerous retail shopping options.
Because consumerism has grown exponentially, this now begins on Thanksgiving. More and more businesses are opening their doors to shopping, overlapping the holiday — and for their employees, overtaking family time.
Yet for many people, the traditional beginning of the season leading up to Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years’ Day means a great deal to them.
Thanksgiving has further controversy about it, too. The treatment of the Native Americans by the immigrants who overran their lands, let alone the US government, could be called appalling at best, genocidal at worst.
Yet Thanksgiving can simply be a point of focus as a time for gratitude and giving thanks to the people in your life. It can be an opportunity to reflect on the good things you have and other various positive matters.
Thanksgiving is a day with different meanings to different people.
Allowing room for multiple opinions
It is important to recognize that what Thanksgiving means differs from person to person. My take is not the same as yours when it comes to its meaning — and there is nothing wrong with that.
Everyone has a unique perspective because everyone is individual in their thought process. Because this is the case, there is no right or wrong answer as to what Thanksgiving means.
Thanks to the relative anonymity of the internet, people will write things that are pithy, cruel, unkind, and just unpleasant when someone posts something they disagree with. This tends to spiral into a lot of negativity, which is why the phrase frequently employed is “don’t read the comments.”
Some people say that everyone is entitled to their opinion. While in many ways this is true, the word entitled is problematic. Entitlement is the cause of an awful lot of strife these days. Because of the nature of the word entitled, many people take this to mean that their opinion is the only valid opinion and everyone else can piss off.
Often, no one opinion is greater than another, with the main exception being the truth.
For many reasons, opinion trumps truth far too readily. This is where anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, and Trump’s assertion of a “War on Thanksgiving” and the like come in. They are not based in reality or truth, just opinion. And due to the nature of entitlement, they become a person’s personal truth even in the face of facts and proof that they are NOT true.
Because of this, people too easily reject any opinion contrary to their own, even in light of it being untrue.
When it comes to Thanksgiving and what it means, though, this is a place where there is plenty of room for multiple opinions.
Meaning is subjective
The reason why there is room for differing opinions here is that the meaning of Thanksgiving is so variable. Some people are celebrating one thing, others are celebrating another, and still others might be not be celebrating anything.
If you’re in another country today is just another Thursday, after all.
So what Thanksgiving means is going to vary, and that’s ok. Allowing for the variations and recognizing and acknowledging this opens you up to freeing yourself from getting frustrated, upset, or otherwise negative when faced with different meanings for this holiday.
There is no right or wrong here. The truth, in this instance, is not singular nor immutable. Thus, recognizing this makes room to see and allow for multiple meanings of a holiday based on myth, lore, legend, tradition, and even some degrees of truth.
Making use of the day for gratitude
The best thing, to me, to use Thanksgiving for is expressing gratitude.
Gratitude is incredibly powerful, and when genuine, totally positive. In a world inundated and constantly bombarded by negativity finding, having, and creating more positivity is tremendously valuable.
Gratitude can be expressed for the tangible and intangible, material and immaterial, on levels great and small and everything in-between. Saying thank you for anything that matters in your life, person, place, or thing, empowers you and that which you thank.
For me, this is what Thanksgiving has come to mean. It is a day where giving thanks is literally the plan and action of the day. The world needs more thankfulness and gratitude, and I am happy to be empowered to share it.
Thank you for reading my words. I appreciate that you have taken the time to read what I am writing and support the work I do. It is my hope that I can be an inspiration, and help you see possibilities and potential over problems and frustrations in life.
What does Thanksgiving mean to me? It means I have been given a day where gratitude is the primary focus, and no matter how anyone else views this holiday (or random Thursday if you are not in the United States) I have the ability to share that. I also get to give thanks for you, everyone, and everything for which I am grateful in this life.
What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter — thank you for being.