A Day for Sharing
Thanksgiving, at its heart, is about sharing. For some extended families with crazy schedules, it may be the only meal they eat together for months. Thanksgiving is also a great holiday to share your green message with the extended family. Whether your green intentions are subtle, such as saying thanks for the trees, or more obvious, such as proudly providing a rundown of all the local and organic ingredients used in the making of the Thanksgiving feast, your family and friends will learn that celebrating can be done in an eco-friendly and fun way – all without losing the traditions of the holiday.
My favorite part about Thanksgiving: no gifts are required. I love giving and getting presents as much as the next person, but honestly, there’s a lot of stress that goes into choosing the right gift for everyone (as well as hoping that your children are thankful and polite when they are on the receiving end). There’s none of that of pressure on Thanksgiving. Even without us as parents drumming it into their brains, I think the message of the holiday – that being together is the fun part, not getting presents – is so important and also obvious to kids. It’s a holiday that focuses on the importance of family and togetherness. To strengthen this message, create traditions such as playing freeze tag, touch football, or going for walks. If you’re up for a bit of planning, try creating a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood or even around the yard. After a long morning or afternoon playing outside, we are all that much more grateful when we sit down for our Thanksgiving meal. Make saying thanks a tradition each year, even for the littlest ones at your table, and try to incorporate it on other days as well. Being thankful for food and family is a sentiment for every season!
Talk About the Origins of Thanksgiving
We often rely on our kids’ schools to teach them about the holidays. Personally, I can’t even remember the last time we talked about the actual (although possibly mythologized) origins of Thanksgiving. This year I’m planning on having a very basic family discussion about the pilgrims and the Native Americans. For my little ones, I want to bring the story up to modern times: my son understands the farmer’s market, so I’ll start with how there was none in the 1600s (as well as no grocery stores at all!) and how all the pilgrims would have died were it not for the help of the Native Americans. Talking about how they shared knowledge could lead to discussing another familiar topic in our household: community gardens and how we help each other learn about different fruits and vegetables. For families with older kids, topics could include immigration, globalization and community.
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