While Thanksgiving is some people’s favorite holiday (I mean, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie?!), it is also a holiday clouded with controversy. From its origins – which are argued left and right (no pun intended), Thanksgiving can be hard to love. Every November, we all gather around to celebrate the holiday, but what should we be focused on? Is it the food? Is it the history? Is it being thankful? Is it the food? Wait, did I say that one twice?! You get the point. If you are wondering how to celebrate Thanksgiving respectfully this year, this article is for you. What can you do? Let’s keep reading.
First, Do Your Research
Before you begin an argument with your family members about the history of Thanksgiving – you better know what you’re talking about. Take a deep dive into the general history of Thanksgiving as a nation, but then you can go even deeper. In fact, I would even challenge you to look at your state’s history, so you can learn about the Indigenous communities closest to you. How were they impacted by colonization? How are they still being impacted today? If you have never done this research today and don’t know anything about the Native American communities near you, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to do so.
First – is there any way you can give back to your local Indigenous tribes? Here’s a list of national ways you can give back. Though, I guarantee that there will be a handful of ways that you can give back locally within your community, whether it is a Turkey Drive or fundraiser. Truthfully, Thanksgiving is an amazing day to give back to your entire community. I know many school districts, homeless shelters and community centers hold food drives and fundraisers, too. To show how thankful you are for everything you’ve been privileged with, taking some time out of your Thanksgiving to donate or volunteer is a great step.
Flip The Script
While I am NOT saying to ignore the deep history and nuances and focus on chowing down – I do think it can be a good opportunity to flip the script. Instead, focusing on the “Thanks” part of Thanksgiving can make the holiday so special. What are you thankful for in your life? Who are you thankful for? Let it be known today. Give your family members a call, make them a little gift basket, make them a grand meal. Sit around the table and have everyone say something they are thankful for. While the origination of the holiday isn’t ideal, it is a great opportunity for you to bask in the thankfulness of your life. Having one day a year where you take a look around and say wow is so important. Plus, pair that with a slice of pumpkin pie?! What wouldn’t you be thankful for?
What do you think? Do you know how to celebrate Thanksgiving respectfully? What else would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.