Thanksgiving is not only awesome because of the turkey stuffing, the days off and the ridiculous sales, but also because of its name that remind us of a noble idea: gratitude.
According to the online Encyclopedia Smithsonian, American Thanksgiving can be traced all the way back to the late 16th Century, when it serve as a religious celebration that honoured life-or-death matters –the safe arrival at land after a long travesty, or the abundance of food supplies after a harsh winter. About two hundred years later, the House of Representatives in the USA agreed that a day of Thanksgiving be held to thank God for the opportunity to create a Constitution to preserve citizens’ freedoms. All presidents that followed abided by this tradition, with the exception of Thomas Jefferson, who believed the requiring a day if prayer was a conflict of church and state.
In 1827 Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine, began to advocate for what we now call Thanksgiving day by printing articles, publishing stories and recipes, and writing letters to governors, senators, and presidents. Finally, on October 3rd, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed that November 26th, would be a national Thanksgiving Day, to be observed every year on the fourth Thursday of November.
Today, Thanksgiving is a time when many families come together to share a meal and good times. But with the emergence of Black Friday sales over the past decade, the noble idea of a day dedicated to gratitude tends to quickly morf into a consumption marathon that extends all the way into Cyber Monday.
As we grow every so connected and able to shop anything, from anywhere and anytime, a need to get back to basics is emerging. In comes Giving Tuesday, designated to remember charitable organizations and the people they help. The GivingTuesday organization unites non-profits across North America and encourages supporters to give on this day. Last year’s stats are staggering, with giving reported to have increased on that day by up to +421% in Canada and +162% in the USA.
This weekend, as you kick off your holiday shopping, we challenge you to be conscious about your consumption. Think of the loved ones in your list that already have all they need and consider a donation in their name as a gift.
Participating of programs like our own Lolë White Tour and Lolë Yellow Label we’ve come across some great organizations to support. Amongst them are Moisson Montreal, Ample Harvest, Bent on Learning, YWCA, Caritas.
To name just a few… Please feel free to comment below with an organization you love to support.
Interesting facts about gratitude
Did you know that infusing gratitude into your day-to-day can have a real positive impact on your life? What better day than Thanksgiving to start this new routine!
Steven Toepfer, an associate professor in the department of human development and family studies at Kent State University, has investigated the close connection between gratitude and well-being and found that those who wrote one meaningful letter of gratitude per week over the course of three weeks — spending about 15 to 20 minutes on each — experienced significant gains in happiness and life satisfaction, and a decrease in depressive symptoms.
Mantras can also be a grand way of inviting thankfulness and gratitude into your day, and are often a large part of yoga and meditation practices
In closing, consider this quote by Lama Marut:
“Those who cling to the past are doomed to repeat it. I renounce toxic nostalgia, and vow to replace clinging with fond gratitude. Now is the only time we have.”
Sources for this article include: Encyclopaedia Smithsonian, Merriam-Webster, Huffington Post, 4 Incredible Easy Ways To Practice Everyday Gratitude, Yoga Shanti, Giving Tuesday.