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What Kids Can Teach Us About Celebrating Thanksgiving

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What Kids Can Teach Us About Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I would bet my bottom dollar that you are freaking out about the family coming together and the food you need to cook. As grown-ups, we have gotten so caught up with having the “right place setting” or the “right crowd” around the Thanksgiving table that we must ask: have we completely forgotten the true meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday? If you are dreading Thanksgiving this year, or if you are feeling completely overwhelmed about it, perhaps you should explore what kids can teach us about Thanksgiving. After all, kids have this wonderful gift of truly knowing how to simply live in the moment without scrutinizing everything. Maybe by looking to the little ones, we will be inspired and reminded of the things that truly matter when it comes to this beautiful holiday.

Thanksgiving: A day for giving thanks 

Yes, this one is quite obvious but as grownups we tend to forget that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and not piling on more food and waiting for black Friday sales. Kids, on the other hand, fully understand the meaning behind this holiday. Kids are so dependent on everyone to fulfill their basic needs that sometimes they have a special view on what it means to be thankful, even if it’s just for the trivial things in life such as having a roof over their heads. Being thankful and showing it may be the single most important thing we do on Thanksgiving day!

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Thanksgiving meals are memorable

“Mashed potatoes and gravy anyone?” Kids love the Thanksgiving meal, and, really, who can blame them! Most grown-ups have a childhood memory of the mashed potatoes grandma used to make or of how mom use to cook the Thanksgiving meal filling the house with yummy aromas. Thanksgiving is your opportunity to create a meal that will be remembered for generations to come! Don’t stress over the menu, just cook with simplicity and love. Remember, more than cooking a massive meal, you are creating a memory.

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Thanksgiving family gatherings are fun (maybe)

This one is a bit difficult to accept. Yes, you may be dreading your mother-in-law’s visit but, remember the feeling of family gatherings when you were a kid? Oh! The joy of getting together with cousins, aunts and uncles, and running around the house building forts made out of pillows! OK, so, maybe you are not exactly going to be building pillow forts with your mother-in-law, but perhaps you can remind your heart of that feeling of honesty and acceptance that you once displayed towards your family when you were a kid. Live and enjoy the blessing of having family around you and be open to the possibility of being silly and having the childlike attitude of cheer. Who knows, the family gathering may actually turn fun!

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Thanksgiving is all about simplicity

Kids love Thanksgiving for the simple things this holiday brings: the yummy pumpkin pie, the turkey coloring sheets, and the family gathering around the table. As grown-ups, we get stuck with creating the right menu, having the house spotless, and making sure the bar is well stocked to put up with family. Perhaps we should learn from kids and realize that Thanksgiving should be about the simple things in life: having a warm and cozy home, food on the table and people to share it with.

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Don’t over analyze Thanksgiving

Kids have this incredible capacity to act without over analyzing every little detail. While sometimes it gets them in trouble, sometimes acting without over analyzing allows them to experience life to the fullest. This Thanksgiving, don’t over analyze your life, your feelings, the menu, or your family. Simply enjoy the holiday for what it is: a time to eat, give thanks, and be merry!

Featured photo credit: Two little boys having fun with pumpkins on pumpkin patch on farm. Selective focus on one boy. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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