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Make Thanksgiving More Meaningful

Make Thanksgiving More Meaningful

dining room with farmhouse table and green walls in flea market inspired farmhouse

We all know that Thanksgiving is full of turkey, beautiful fall decorations and lots of football, but there’s more to it than an excuse to feast. As you defrost your meat and bake up the stuffing, consider adding one of these activities to help your family remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Painting of the first Thanksgiving
A painting of the first Thanksgiving, circa 1912-1915. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Learn the History

There are two periods of American history that are significant for Thanksgiving. The first is in the late 1600s, when a group of Puritan Christians came over to the New World from Holland to establish a colony. 

The events leading up to the first Thanksgiving were hard, with starvation and illness running rampant among the new arrivals. Yet those months were also full of the kindness of the Native Americans, and the burgeoning friendship between the two peoples. The Thanksgiving of 1621 marked peace, friendship and plenty.

The second period of American history that has significance for Thanksgiving is the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving during the brutal four-year war that ended slavery and killed so many Americans. Yet it was in the midst of the difficult time that President Lincoln reminded the citizens of the US to be grateful.

This year, instill some of this history into your family by reading up a bit as a group around your Thanksgiving table. Here are some great resources you can use:

(As an Amazon Associate, American Farmhouse Style earns from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.)

Squanto Thanksgiving book
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas.
Thanksgiving book
Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation can be found here.

Thankful Lists

One tradition you can start as a family is to have everyone write down a list of things they’re thankful for. This can be especially fun with your kids, as their lists will be memorable and funny. You’ll be able to watch them mature as they get older and their thankful lists become more thoughtful.

Another easy way to do this is to go around the table during the meal and talk about what you’re most thankful for. This is a good way to reflect on the year while not having to do the homework of writing down a list beforehand.

Burgoo recipe stew in crock
This burgoo recipe is a perfect classic stew for fall in the country.

Sharing Thanksgiving

Once you’ve finished eating, head to your pantry as a family and pick out some non-perishable goods that you can give away. Then this weekend (perhaps on your way back from Black Friday shopping), stop by a food bank and donate what you gathered so those less fortunate can have enough food this weekend as well.

Ready to host Thanksgiving? Make sure you have these hosting items checked off your list! Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration! 

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