Thanksgiving, according to President Abraham Lincoln, exists to offer “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
That’s hardly true today when most Americans engage in extravagant feasts, march in parades, and watch football games. How many people truly give thanks when not celebrating a touchdown or tender turkey?
Why are you thankful? Do you know why there’s a holiday? Do you care?
Thanksgiving started here in the New World in 1621 when 51 Pilgrims and 91 Natives shared a fall harvest to mark crops growing despite their first winter season.
The next observance occurred in 1767 when colonists in Charlestown, Massachusetts recognized victories and held a day of thanksgiving.
A decade later, the 13 colonies celebrated their victory over the British at Sarotoga and gave thanks again.
President George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1789, Lincoln set its frequency as the last Thursday of November in 1863, and Congress approved the holiday in 1941.
The idea of giving thanks for your family, friends, and life is an old idea.
Even if you do understand the meaning of Thanksgiving, even if you are truly thankful for what you have, how many of you spend money over the ensuing days?
- Black Friday, begun in 1924, empowers retailers to offer shopping deals.
- Small Business Saturday, begun in 2010, empowers you to buy locally.
- Cyber Monday, begun in 2005, is the internet’s version of Black Friday.
- Giving Tuesday, begun in 2012, tries to go back to our roots by asking you to donate to a charity. But even this gets competitive and is not really about thankfulness either.
I don’t know about you but I didn’t buy anything on Friday, Saturday, or Monday. Nor did I donate to anyone on Tuesday. Rather, I conserved the money I had and cherished my family, friends, and life. I don’t need to buy things to be thankful; because if I did, Thanksgiving would be less meaningful. And, I always donate to charities before the end of the year so Tuesday’s notion, while noble for some, is not applicable for me.