As Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself wondering how our ancestors celebrated Thanksgiving.

From the beginning of time, Thanksgiving meant food and family. A time to celebrate the summer harvest and prepare for a long winter.  Pantries were full, barns were stocked and families were anxious to sit back and enjoy some time together after a long working summer.

Old Fashion Thanksgiving - Keep it Simple

Here on our farm, I like to think we celebrate the same way.  We spend the day together being thankful for the harvest and all the blessing the Lord has given to us throughout the year.

Over the last few years, I have been making Thanksgiving a little more old fashion.  I have been concentrating more on the day and not so much on the activities that surround Thanksgiving.  Long gone are the days of preparing for Black Friday, all day spent watching football, or making a feast only a King’s Court could eat. Now I make sure we put our focus on the simpler side of Thanksgiving…centered around God, nature, and family.

Here are just a few of my old fashion Thanksgiving traditions:

  • Simple Menu – Thanksgiving dinner does not have to be a feast fit for a King.  I have taken the stress out of dinner by serving the same simple menu for years.  Turkey – Dressing – Mashed Potatoes & Gravy – Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Coleslaw, and Pumpkin & Chocolate Pie.
  • Centerpiece – The day before Thanksgiving I take a walk around the farm and fill a basket with things I find in nature.  Pinecones, fall leaves, dried grapevines, holly berries, dried corn and anything else I can use in a centerpiece.
  • A Time for Prayer & Reflection– At the start of our meal a pray of thanks is given. We tell the Thanksgiving story just like we do with the Easter story.
    • We have nine people in our family so I cut out nine turkeys from construction paper and write one of these key Thanksgiving history points on each. I also use them as name settings, I write each person’s name on the front and write the history point on the back.  After our prayer, we go around the table and read each point in date order.
      • Turkey #1 – In 1620, the Mayflower came ashore in the New World.
      • Turkey #2 – In 1621 Thanksgiving was held as a three-day feast to celebrate the first harvest and to thank the local Indians that had helped them to survive their first year in Massachusetts.
      • Turkey #3 – In 1623, the Plymouth colony had a terrible drought and they prayed for rain. After the rains had come, they celebrated Thanksgiving with a day of prayer.
      • Turkey #4 – In 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving on June 29, to express their thanks for the good fortune their community had securely established.
      • Turkey #5 – In 1777, all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time; however, it was a one-time affair commemorating a victory over the British at Saratoga.
      • Turkey #6 – In 1789, George Washington proclaimed November 26th to be a national thanksgiving day for adoption of Constitution.
      • Turkey #7 – In 1846 Sarah Hale begins advocating a national Thanksgiving celebration, believing this spiritual means would unify and preserve the nation.
      • Turkey #8 – In 1863 President Lincoln, declared the last Thursday of November to be set aside as a β€œday of Thanksgiving and Praise”.
      • Turkey #9 – In 1941, Congress changed the holiday permanently to the 4th Thursday of November.
  • Gathering – Thanksgivings of the past did not include TV’s to gather around. Instead families sat around the fire telling stories and sharing laughter. Passing down family stories is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition in our family.
  • Savor the Moment – As I get older I tend to stop and savor the moments of life more often.  I have found myself more than once sitting at my table surrounded by my children just listening to their voices, watching their faces and catching their smiles.  Thanksgiving is all about being thankful and what a better way than to sit back and savor the moment of a holiday dinner.
  • Turkey Trot – At the end of the day, and before everyone heads home we take a family walk.  It is the perfect way to tire those little ones out and work off that pie.

How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving?  Do you have any old fashion Thanksgiving traditions?

Tracy Lynn

Tracy Lynn

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