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Giving Thanks on the Fourth Thursday of November

Welcome to another post! Today’s topic is Thanksgiving, and we’ll attempt to provide a bit of history on the holiday while having our chat (which we’re thankful for the opportunity to do). Grab a turkey leg and dive on in!

American Thanksgiving, not to be confused with holidays in other countries by the same name, is a time when we pause and think about all the things we have to be thankful for.

This holiday originated a long, long time ago when America was new. It was meant to be a celebration and thanks for the yearly harvest. Each sitting president could change the date of Thanksgiving as they saw fit, and the holiday wasn’t observed yearly. President Lincoln made it the last Thursday in November every year and called it something like a day to give thanks to our blessings from our Heavenly Father, but it wasn’t until 1885 that Thanksgiving became a federal holiday with the signing of the Holidays Act. From 1942, because of President Roosevelt, Thanksgiving was moved up by one week and set in stone.

If you have a way to watch the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you should. It’s quite something. Sadly, the presidential turkeys won’t make an appearance.

JFK was the first president to spare the turkey given by the National Turkey Federation, but President Reagan was the first to issue a presidential pardon to a turkey, and it’s become a fun tradition since then. He actually presented the pardon to the bird then sent it to a petting zoo. This year, there are two turkeys, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and they’ve been given a day in the Willard InterContinental in downtown D.C. while they await their pardon. They’ll then be sent to Perdue college to be studied by a group of students in the Department of Animal Sciences.

Humor aside, Thanksgiving is a holiday rife with controversy. On one hand, you have the folks who boycott the day because of the history of the settlers and the Native Americans (horrific things happened), and on the other hand, you have folks who use the day as a chance to be grateful for everything they’ve been given or have achieved. A large meal is still usually served and shared by family.

Personally, my family uses the time at the table together to state, verbally, what they’re thankful for. That’s something everyone can get behind, I think, whether they celebrate the day or simply celebrate time with their families and recognize the many blessings around them.

Whether you’re in the United States or elsewhere in the world, why not take a moment this week to pause and give thanks? It’s not like it’ll hurt anything, and it just might be a revealing moment in time. I know I learn things about my family every year!

I hope you enjoyed this little dive into one of the strangest American holidays ever, and Happy Thanksgiving (if you happen to celebrate)!

Contributor

Jo Michaels

Marketing Coordinator

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