Harvest Festivals and Thanksgiving feasts have been celebrated in the United States and around the world to celebrate a country’s founding, a religious festival, or bountiful harvest.
History.com tells about the history and traditions in countries around the world that celebrate Harvest Festivals for thankfulness. “First Nations (the indigenous peoples of Canada) and Native Americans had been holding harvest festivals long before Europeans arrived.”
As with many of our best loved celebrations, Thanksgiving Day festivities have long-held traditions we often enjoy with family and friends. We have many expectations around our fall holidays. We want celebrations to be the same every year with time off work, our favorite traditional meals, and people enjoying them with us. But things change. Over the years the work environment has changed. Some people have time off while others work overtime. Friends and family move and meals evolve as new traditions are embraced.
Thanksgiving 2020 seems to exaggerate and exacerbate the differences in opportunities to celebrate holidays. Some who want to work are unemployed while some are working long hours, and others are happily retired. Many of the gatherings will be smaller with less travel this year. Friends or family members might invite you to a large gathering. You may need to sadly decline the invitation while others bask in the large holiday gathering. Holidays have always been stressful for people who feel pressured, have less pleasant holiday memories, or don’t feel like they fit the mold for the holiday expectations. This year the emotions will be felt more strongly.
Stress is exaggerated when focusing on the past and what has been, or future focusing on what should be. This holiday season focus on what you value and find thankfulness however you celebrate the season. What can you do to destress and create new memories this holiday season?
Be thankful for what you have
- Make a list of 5 things you are thankful for.
- When gathering for a festive meal, ask everyone if they would like to name something they are thankful for.
- If you have food, give thanks.
Give to others
- Send a donation to a food bank or shelter.
- Volunteer to serve a dinner for someone who doesn’t have one.
- Send a card, email, or note to say you are thankful to someone who needs a lift.
Practice Destress Activities, find time to have fun, seek out safe places to celebrate all the things you have. Things change. It will be exciting to see what next year brings.
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