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Thanksgiving 2014: What Does it Mean to You?

Thanksgiving... is an often forgotten holiday. It seems that the second Halloween ends—or sooner—people begin to play Christmas music. Winter decorations flood the stores and the television ads speak of the impending holiday sales. And somewhere in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the December holidays, we forget about an entire month with a pretty wonderful event.

There are two definitions for the word “Thanksgiving” in the dictionary I referenced. The second reads as follows:

an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November.

I read this once or twice. I shook my head. I agreed. But I wasn’t satisfied. I took to the streets [aka my friends] and asked them to define Thanksgiving in a short sentence or so. This is what I received:

Thanksgiving is..

“a day focused on being grateful for everything God has blessed us with. Also a day I eat all the good foods.”

-Lindsay K.

“a day of unusual and radiant happiness.”

-Josh Z.

“love around the table that connects my family, past present, and future…and pie

-Audrey S.

“eating copious amounts of food surrounded by family.”

-Caitlin L.

“a time to step back and be thankful for everything and not just realizing it, but actually telling them you are thankful for them.”

-Jarred T.

“family, blood or not. That’s the best thing to have.”

-Sarah G.

“a blessing to be a part of.”

-Brittany M.

“taking a moment to realize that you’ve got wonderful friends and family in your life.”

-Zack S.

“a day to stop to take a moment to be entirely grateful for all the good in your life and a time to help others who aren’t as lucky.”

-Abby M.

“inviting your neighbors over and stealing their land.”

-Vanessa R.

All of these heartfelt definitions, the last tongue-in-cheek one excluded, make sense.

Thanksgiving, though typically a quiet holiday in my family still includes love. Thanksgiving is a sacred holiday, one that hasn’t quite been reached by mass consumerism or Hallmark cards. There’s no extravagant gift giving or wild expectations. Thanksgiving is simply a time to gather with loved ones and reflect upon our blessings.

I don’t have much more to say on the topic. I’m off to make some killer green bean casserole and enjoy the company of my family. Just remember that, no matter where you are this Thanksgiving, pause to thank your friends and family for all they do for you. Everyone has someone. Make sure that someone knows you love them.

Oh, and the first dictionary definition of “thanksgiving?”

“the expression of gratitude, especially to God.”

Have a happy and blessed holiday season. The Smile Project would be nowhere without your support.

Love always

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