Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.
Most people have a favorite holiday. I’m sure that for many, it’s Christmas.
For my sister, Halloween is her favorite holiday. She loves everything about Halloween. She decorates her house spectacularly and dresses up in crazy amazing outfits every year. She loves it so much she’s passed on that love of Halloween to her two kids and her entire community in Switzerland.
But for me, Thanksgiving is and always will be my favorite holiday.
I love everything about Thanksgiving. I love the food, I love spending time with my family, and I love spending time with friends.
But the thing I love most about Thanksgiving is the feeling.
Thanksgiving feels like home to me.
This may seem like a strange statement, but Thanksgiving reminds me of everyone being home, sharing their stories, and coming together over food.
For me, it’s a feeling of safety, peace, and togetherness—all those feelings that come from being home with the ones you love.
We have always had a large gathering of family and friends who come together to celebrate the holiday.
This year is going to be a smaller gathering for us—only sixteen. I know that sixteen people may sound like a lot to some, but when you already have eight in your family, sixteen isn’t that big. We have had years where we have had over forty people in our home for Thanksgiving.
Even though it’s a smaller gathering, all six of my children will be home for the holidays.
It’s never easy when your children grow up and move away from home. And it’s always a celebration when they come back to visit—especially when we’re all together.
This is definitely one reason why this Thanksgiving will especially feel like home for me—all my family will be home and together once again.
I realize that for some, the holidays are difficult.
Not everyone has a home or a family to go to. I know that there are many who do not have large families or people who surround them. For these individuals, Thanksgiving may be a time of real loneliness.
Because of this, Thanksgiving is also a time of giving.
We need to be aware of those who may be lonely around us and bring them into our circle of family and friends. A lot of times, we will try to invite people who don’t have another place to go to our Thanksgiving dinner.
I truly believe that everyone should feel like they are part of a family and community, especially at Thanksgiving. Everyone should have somewhere to go on Thanksgiving if that’s what they choose.
If you know of someone in your community or neighborhood who will be alone for Thanksgiving, reach out to them and invite them into your home and family.
Some of our best memories of Thanksgiving are sharing a meal with people who had nowhere else to go.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks.
No matter who you are, Thanksgiving is a time to show gratitude for all that you have.
Expressing gratitude and thanksgiving is also a feeling that can lift you in even the hardest of circumstances.
Maybe that’s also why I have such a positive feeling at Thanksgiving. It’s not just about the feeling of home, it’s the positive feelings that come from expressing gratitude in a mindful and intentional way.
The gratitude I feel for my children coming home is overwhelming. We are cooking a feast and having friends over as well.
We will cook way too much food and have leftovers for days—but it never goes to waste. For some of my kids, the leftovers are what they look forward to the most.
And honestly, I’m grateful for all of it.
I love the feeling that being grateful for these things brings.
It’s a feeling of happiness, joy, excitement, and anticipation. It just makes me incredibly happy that Thanksgiving is here.
What feeling does Thanksgiving give you? Does it make you happy? If not, consider what you could do to change that. Maybe start by expressing gratitude for the things you already have.
Thanksgiving is also about traditions.
When the kids were little, we used to do a gratitude tree where they would draw on a leaf what they were grateful for. I wish we would have continued that tradition, but we didn’t.
One tradition we do have, however, is that we go around the table, and everyone says what they are grateful for this year. It’s always interesting to hear what the children come up with.
Sometimes they will share what they are grateful for at the moment, like stuffing. And sometimes, they will say something that really gets you to think and appreciate the moments when you get to have amazing and thoughtful conversations with your children.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions? If you don’t have any, maybe it’s time to create some.
Whatever your traditions are, I hope you take a moment this Thanksgiving to gather around your family and friends and thank them for being an important part of your life.
I hope you find those who are lonely and bring them into your circle of family and friends.
And above all, I hope you experience that feeling of home as you celebrate Thanksgiving with those you love.