How to Teach Your Children about Thanksgiving and What It Means to You

It isn’t uncommon for a country to celebrate being thankful at some point during the year. In fact, many countries around the world continue to do so. Explaining these celebrations isn’t always easy. Think about how to teach your children about Thanksgiving and what it means to you as the holiday draws near.

Delve into the history of the holiday. Tradition and fact are often two different things. Learn about the circumstances which led to the first Thanksgiving because children aren’t always taught about this in school any longer. There are surviving documents written by observers of that first celebration. It is also interesting to note the differences of how the holiday has evolved since that time.

The holiday has changed over the years but the premise of being thankful for the good things in life is a constant theme. Even though Thanksgiving began as a celebration for a bountiful harvest, most people don’t farm any longer. Those celebrating can still be thankful for having plenty of food available to them.

Explain to your children that not everyone has enough food to eat. You may want to find out about food pantries, food banks or organizations which give out or prepare food for the less fortunate. In fact, your family could volunteer for any of these groups either leading up to Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day. Not only would your family learn first-hand that others are in need, they can also experience gratitude for what they do have.

Another invariable with Thanksgiving is how families are brought together. In the past, families continued to live close to one another after the children moved out. This is no longer always the case. Thanksgiving is a great time for families to come together in order to reconnect, so you may want to explain to your children how the holiday is important to you from that standpoint.

Have a family reunion during this time of year. Send out personal invitations to family who live far away. Rather than preparing the entire meal yourself, ask everyone to bring something to contribute so one person or family isn’t too stressed physically or financially. You may find your family has such a great time they decide to get together each year at rotating locations.

Establish some new traditions within your family. Take time to talk about what you’re thankful for before digging into the meal set before you. Begin a gratitude journal which can be added to by each member of the family and read through those things during the long holiday weekend. The point is to think about things you’re grateful for and not keep them to yourself.

Many people, however, choose to turn their Thanksgiving thoughts upward. Quite often day-to-day life has us distracted and busy. Even though not everyone who celebrates this day attends religious services, there are a vast number who take this time to consider where their provision comes from and acknowledge that source which is what the original celebrants did. They thanked God for seeing them through their first year in a new land and for the bounty which they were able to enjoy.

Thanksgiving is a special holiday to be sure, but not everyone celebrates it the same way. Think about what it means to you personally and then pass that along to your children. Stress the idea of being thankful not only on the fourth Thursday of November but every day of the year.


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