It’s unbelievable that 2018 is coming to a close and we are about to shift into a new year full of new possibilities and experiences. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the holiday reminds us to practice gratitude in our everyday lives.
The national holiday stems from the year 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. Many acknowledge the feast as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. However, Thanksgiving Day was not declared a national holiday until 1863 (in the midst of the Civil War) under President Lincoln. Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef and author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, presented an alternative view about the harvest feast. In a Time Magazine piece, he spoke from his perspective as a Native American about the history and events of that time. PBS also aired an interesting point of view on November 24, 2015 titled, “The True Story of the First Thanksgiving” (American Experience, Season 27, Episode 10). What matters most today is that the United States has erected a national holiday dedicated to reflection on what we all have to be thankful for.
- 8 Things to Be Thankful for in 2018
- Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions
- Terrific Turkey Crafts
- Thanksgiving Day Games
- Movies to Watch During the Holidays
- Thanksgiving Travel
- Holiday Recipes
- Thanksgiving NFL Football Games
- Closing Thoughts
8 THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR IN 2018
1. A New Day to Learn Something New – Learning is essential to a happy and fulfilled life. No one is saying you have to apply the 5-Hour Rule (used by many political and business titans), but be thankful that you have lived to see another day full of learning opportunities that can better your life. Moreover, the subject-matter you absorb does not always have to be serious. Become more balanced by blending light topics into your daily routine, such as food, dance, culture, etc.
2. A Home to Live, Eat, Sleep, and Relax In – Right now, no one understands this better than residents in California who have lost their homes due to wildfires. To visually understand how devastating the fires have been for these people, view this drone footage. Think about the countless others who are not as fortunate as you and have to sleep in their car, in an abandoned house or building, in a shack, or on a park bench. Consider their perspective the next time you complain about a house repair or your apartment size.
3. The Gift of Being Able to Choose – It is important to keep in mind you always have a choice, even when you feel stuck. Hope, the essential element needed to achieve our goals, plus our ability to tactically adjust based off the situations we find ourselves in, are two of the greatest gifts given to mankind. Those that choose not to acknowledge the power of hope do so at their own peril. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” because as motivational speaker Denis Waitley said, “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”
4. Every Pleasant Moment in Your Life – There are times when we have multiple positive experiences in just one day and other moments when we seem to be followed by a cloud of perpetual negativity. I choose to learn from my negative experiences, especially the ones I can control, but afterwards move on and only continuously focus on positive experiences. “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind” (Joyce Meyer).
5. Mistakes & Disappointment – If you choose to see mistakes for what they really are, you understand they’re simply lessons learned (hopefully) and opportunities to improve ourselves. How can one measure his or her future successes without looking back to past failures as reference points? This is why shortcomings should be embraced for what they taught us in the end. By appreciating past disappointments we open ourselves to lessons that will prepare us when making future decisions. Overcoming disappointment and struggle is what makes success so sweet to the taste and soothing to the soul. There is a high degree of personal fulfillment when one achieves a goal in the face of multiple let downs. Perhaps, more importantly, we come out better than we were before. We become stronger and wiser.
6. Enemies and Challenging Situations – Those who seem to be against us teach us about ourselves: who we are, who we want to be, and who we don’t. Do not let your enemies faze you. As an unknown author once said, “If people are trying to bring you down, it only means that you are above them.” Also, I’m not saying to trust your enemies, but focus on areas where you can find common ground and maybe even build a relationship on that foundation. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” In this sense, having enemies can be a useful tool in learning the virtues of patience, courage and understanding. As far as challenges go, view them as healthy workouts that make you strong, help you understand your capabilities, and force you to push your limits. Without challenges we might remain stagnant. With them we can experience personal growth and forward movement towards the objectives we want to achieve.
7. Your Mind and Body – With our hectic schedules and the stress that accompanies modern life, it’s not difficult to feel like you are losing your mind (especially this time of year)! But seriously, without your mind you would have nothing. And without a functioning body, life might be more challenging (view above) and present limited options. Love and appreciate your body with all of its flaws. Fuel your mind and body with proper nutrition, rest and exercise. Take care of them and they will take care of you. Do not be afraid to use them to the best of your ability.
8. Family and Friends – Some of our family relationships may be strained, partially fractured or altogether severed. With such poor connections it can be onerous to figure out why one should be thankful for these person(s). The answer lies in the fact they are a part of our life timeline, past or present, and no matter how distant. If you were born into a family, that person is still your father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or cousin. Some people do not have any of the aforementioned and would love to have a family member they could dislike! Despite your distaste for a loved one, you will always have a sense of belonging some other people will never have. So be thankful. Don’t wait until it’s potentially too late. And don’t forget to take an introspective look because the problem may not be him or her, but you. The same goes for friends. It is very difficult to find true friends in the first place so if you are going to terminate a friendship, make sure it is for good cause; not “emotional cause”. If you find emotion is driving your decision to disconnect, suck it up and forgive them! Your future, more level-headed self will thank you.
FAVORITE THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS
Whether they realize it or not, every family has a Thanksgiving tradition; even if that means lounging around the house and watching TV all day – PLUS occasionally sneaking bites of your favorite Thanksgiving dish – until dinner is ready to be served! If you’re prepared to have an open mind, then maybe there’s room for some new traditions you can fit into your family’s typical routine.
1. Go shopping on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. There are plenty of deals to be had on these two shopping holidays but the shopping experience is not for the faint of heart. Shoppers often wait in line for hours in advance of store openings on Black Friday and it even has its own web domain name. Yup, you guessed it… BlackFriday.com. Cyber Monday is a fairly new phenomenon and has road the coattails of the Information Age for nearly 15 years. Since users browse the Internet, it can be a more pleasant shopping experience than waiting in line for hours in the cold on Black Friday. What I found amusing is CyberMonday.com competes with BlackFriday.com/cyber-Monday for eyeballs (BlackFriday.com is owned by Ziff Davis, LLC and CyberMonday.com is owned by the National Retail Federation). Capitalism at its finest!
Ellen Davis, President, NRF Foundation and SVP, Research and Strategic Initiatives stated in a CNN article, “the ‘Cyber Monday’ term originated organically as retailers noticed that consumers turned to the internet to shop on the Monday after Thanksgiving.” She added, "The trend was actually developed by shoppers and started in '02, '03," and that the National Retail Federation just put a name to the concept (in 2005).
2. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, and participate virtually on Twitter/Instagram using the hashtag, #MacysParade. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held every year in New York City but there are other parades held too annually around the country:
• Charlotte, NC – Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Chicago, IL – Uncle Dan’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Detroit, MI – America’s Thanksgiving Parade
• Fountain Hills, AZ – Fountain Hills Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Houston, TX – H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Orlando, FL – Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s
• Philadelphia, PA – 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Plymouth, MA – America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade
• St. Louis, MO – Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade
Depending on where you live, you’ve already missed two thus far, because some locations host their parades on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving:
• Silver Spring, MD – Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade
• Stamford, CT – UBS Parade Spectacular
And you will not be able to see the last parade in the country on the day of Thanksgiving because it is held the Friday after Thanksgiving:
• Seattle, WA – Annual My Macy’s Holiday Parade
3. Design a Thanksgiving Board. A tradition that is inward-looking, but can also positively impact family members around you, is something I created called a “Thanksgiving Board”. Technically, my “Thanksgiving Board” idea is an offshoot of what many families have already set in motion, called a “Thanksgiving Tree”. But I’m a huge fan of Christmas and the “Thanksgiving Tree” concept seems to somehow infringe on the last holiday of the year. Yes, I know… corny… but to each his/her own!
There is also a tradition where families create a “Thanksgiving tablecloth”; the concept is similar to the “Thanksgiving Tree”. Each person writes their signature, the date and what they are thankful for on a plain white tablecloth using a fabric marker. The same tablecloth can be washed and used each year as family members enjoy reading old memories before adding new ones. I am not a fan of this tradition either because: (a) You eventually run out of space; (b) The host may want to use their own tablecloth; (c) Depending on where some memories are written on the tablecloth, they may get missed; (d) As a former “Pack Rat”, I do not want to add anything that is not absolutely necessary to my closets, garage, attic, basement, or otherwise!
In lieu of a tree or tablecloth, I will explain the concept using a board and, recognizing many family members may not live close by, I am going to “digitize” the tradition. The way it works is each family member is asked to take 30 minutes to type a note about what they are and were thankful for throughout the year. They then email the note to a designated person responsible for collecting notes for the whole family. Near Thanksgiving, this designated person will assemble and organize all of the notes. How the person distributes the notes is up to them: on a poster board, sheet handouts, group email message, private website, etc. On Thanksgiving Day, everyone gets together and reads their individual notes aloud to the group. Family members can also reference previous boards to view older memories. The notes shared among the group help remind each participant how much there is to be thankful for in our lives.
4. Remember loved ones who have passed. Holidays can be bittersweet when beloved family members or friends are missing from the gathering. Telling stories and sharing pictures is a lovely way to honor their memory.
5. Play a friendly football game outside. Just make sure to exclude the family member and former aspirant to the NFL who takes the game a little too seriously!
6. When no one wants to host, do dinner at the best hotel in town you can find – that is conducive to an amazing Thanksgiving dinner and experience. You get great food without the headaches of food preparation and cleaning dishes. Personally, I would embrace food prep and dish cleaning if it meant staying at one of the best local AirBnb’s I could find.
7. One word: Volunteer. Hospitals/Medical Centers, animal shelters, and environmental cleaning causes could all use your family’s help this year. An often overlooked group comprises the elderly members of our society who may not have nearby family, or any family at all, to celebrate the holidays with. If you live too far away from extended family to go home for Thanksgiving, maybe you can invite an elderly person to join you and some of your friends. Many local nursing homes and assisted living facilities run Adopt-a-Grandparent programs that strive to forge lasting relationships between seniors and members of the local community. According to the Adopt A Grandparent Organization, “The National Center for Health Statistics says 50 percent of nursing home residents have no close relatives and 46 percent have no living children. Many seniors, particularly those in nursing homes, feel lonely and isolated.” Note: I could not verify the accuracy of the stats purported to have been published by the National Center for Health Statistics.
8. Design a family cookbook. Your family may already have some favorite Thanksgiving dishes or ones that have been passed down from previous generations. Get everyone involved from the grandparents to the kids. Have someone who is really good with computers type the recipes into a word processing program and print copies to hand out to extended family. Have the kids decorate the recipes with drawings of each food, and then scan them onto the document. If you’re not computer savvy, don’t worry… some of the older kids in your family have you covered! …That is, if they’re not too busy fiddling with their iPhones or Androids! If they’re really knowledgeable, they may even be able to design a recipe photo book using a program like Shutterfly.
To keep everyone engaged, have a different person think up a new recipe every year. Judge kindly what they come up with and how it tastes. Determine whether you want to keep the person’s dish in the rotation for next year.
9. Stay connected with family members far away. Just because you’re not close to loved ones does not mean you can’t still be together. Thanks to the Internet, you have an excess of options for connecting to loved ones. Make sure to include family members via video call when you get to the part of your gathering where the group “gives thanks”, or for any other group activity you would like to include them in. Don’t let distance be an excuse not to loop them in!
What are your Thanksgiving Day traditions? What traditions have you kept from your own upbringing? What are your new traditions? We would love to hear about them! Please enter them in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.
10. Break the turkey wishbone. The way it works is two people snap apart the bone while they are making a wish. The person holding the longer piece is said to have good fortune or a wish granted. If the bone cracks evenly in half, both people have their wishes come true. The aficionados out there have broken the practice down into a science and suggest you go with the thickest side of the bone because there’s less stress on your side when the other person goes to pull! Somehow this feels like cheating to me!
TERRIFIC TURKEY CRAFTS
IHeartCraftyThings.com is a cool site that stimulates fun ideas and outlines instructions for turkey crafts. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy time with family or keep the kids entertained leading up to the big meal, explore one or more crafts projects on their website and get your creative juices flowing!
If you need more inspiration, visit 535 best Turkey Crafts images on Pinterest in 2018.
THANKSGIVING DAY GAMES
Looking for Thanksgiving games that have nothing to do with football? Be nice! I’m sure you can find a way to incorporate football into other games (or not)! Either way, HouseBeautiful.com put together one of the best lists of games I could find for Thanksgiving Day.
WomansDay.com also published a great article titled, “24 Thanksgiving Games to Entertain the Kids While You Cook”. The problem is many of these games have to be purchased and with Thanksgiving only one day away, getting the games shipped to your doorstep by the big day may not be practical. Still, I thought it would be a good idea to at least include the link in case you wanted to create your own materials and/or versions at home.
MOVIES TO WATCH DURING THE HOLIDAYS
If you don’t plan on leaving your home on Thanksgiving, there are 18 bona fide classics you may want to consider watching with family:
• Alice’s Restaurant (1969)
• A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
• Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
• Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
• Garfield’s Thanksgiving (1989)
• Addams Family Values (1993)
• Son in Law (1993)
• Home for the Holidays (1995)
• The Ice Storm (1997)
• The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)
• What’s Cooking? (2000)
• Pieces of April (2003)
• An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008) – Hallmark movie
• The Vicious Kind (2009)
• A Family Thanksgiving (2010) – Hallmark movie
• Free Birds (2013)
• Hollidaysburg (2014)
• Krisha (2016)
If you’re looking for something a little more current, you may not know that streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube now release movies as well. In fact, Beautiful Boy, starring Steve Carell and currently in theaters, is a product of Amazon Studios.
Your third option is to watch one of the movies currently in theaters; for those of you who would like to catch a matinee or go out to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner.
• The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG), Drama/Fantasy
• Dr. Suess’ The Grinch (PG), Fantasy/Musical
• Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG), Fantasy/Adventure
• Instant Family (PG-13), Comedy
• Creed II (PG-13), Drama/Sport
• Robin Hood (PG-13), Thriller/Action
• Bohemian Rhapsody (PG-13), Drama/Biography
• Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PG-13), Drama/Fantasy
• The Front Runner (Rated R), Drama
• Beautiful Boy (Rated R), Drama
• A Star is Born (Rated R), Drama/Romance
• Nobody’s Fool (Rated R), Drama/Comedy
• Widows (Rated R), Drama/Mystery
• The World Before Your Feet (NR), Documentary
Then there are the movies you may have just missed because they’ve been removed from some theaters (not all). It’s not that you won’t be able to see them; you just may have to drive to an inconvenient location, depending on where you live.
• First Man (PG-13), Drama/Science Fiction
• Green Book (PG-13), Drama/Comedy
• Indivisible (PG-13), Drama/War
• Free Solo (PG-13), Documentary
• Hunter Killer (Rated R), Thriller/Action
• Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Rated R), Drama/Thriller
• The Girl in the Spider's Web (Rated R), Drama/Thriller
How and when you should travel all depends on where you live in the United States. As a general rule of thumb, if you live in a major metropolitan area and you are driving to your destination, you should plan on traveling early in the morning before 8:00am or at night after 9:00pm. 2018 is not the year to oversleep or feel too tired to travel late into the night. According to NBC News, “AAA expects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the holiday, a 4.8 percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.”
If you are flying, hopefully you booked an early morning flight, but in case you didn’t, be sure to set aside plenty of time for driving to the airport (consider possible traffic), parking (may not be readily available), and congestion at security checkpoints. Also, consider checking your bags and printing your boarding pass online before you arrive at the airport. You can typically check bags online as early as 24 hours before your departure time. Covering all of these bases can help alleviate time pressure. The last thing you want is to be in high-stress mode while traveling with family and/or on your way to see loved ones.
2018 seems to be a year for setting records. The good news is there are no major storms in the forecast for Thanksgiving, but the bad news is the Northeast will experience extremely low temperatures. ABC News expects Thursday to likely be the coldest Thanksgiving along the East Coast since 1996. The arctic blast is forecast to move through quickly, with temperatures returning to the low 50's on Sunday.
Many families have become accustomed to select dishes and recipes that have been counted on over the years for Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t want to encourage you to swap out your whole menu and start a “family food war”, but there may be a few unique appetizers, turkey recipes, sides, drinks and desserts you want to incorporate into your spread this year. Plus, I included a few practical tips and health news to watch out for.
• What to Do If Your Turkey Is Still Frozen
Note: Be sure to swipe right on mobile devices to see the second column to the right.
Here's another good one, ex the ham and cheese...
Don't like casseroles? Try this instead...
Like your sweet potatoes mashed instead? Try this...
THANKSGIVING NFL FOOTBALL GAMES
This year marks three high-profile NFC division rivalry games between the Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions (CBS), Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys (FOX), and the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (NBC, stream on fuboTV). Thursday kicks off with the Bears vs. Lions game, where the Detroit Lions will get a rematch and chance to overturn their 12-point upset against the Chicago Bears in Week 10. This game will mean a lot for both teams as Chicago wants to maintain their positive winning record (currently sitting at 7-3), and Detroit seeks to turnaround their struggling season (fell to 3-6 after losing to Chicago and currently sitting at 4-6). One thing for certain is the Detroit Lions have an awesome track record of winning on Thanksgiving in recent years with four wins and only one loss over the past five years. “It will be the Bears’ 17th visit to Detroit for Thanksgiving (second-most in the NFL behind the Green Bay Packers with 21 visits), and their 12th since World War II ended,” says the Detroit Free Press. Sports writer for the paper, Ryan Ford, wrote an interesting article that broke down all 11 games between WWII and this year.
The Redskins vs. Cowboys game has enormous implications for the playoffs as the Dallas Cowboys climbed their way back into relevancy as a NFC wild card post their Week 10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Washington Redskins have been sitting comfortably for weeks now as the NFC East division leader. They feature running back star Adrian Peterson, while the Cowboys have witnessed a surprising performance by rookie linebacker and first-round pick, Leighton Vander Esch (filling in for the injured Sean Lee and playing alongside Jaylon Smith). Although the Redskins have Adrian Peterson, they experienced a major setback with the gruesome leg injury of 3x Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith. Smith broke two bones in his right leg in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
The Atlanta Falcons are undoubtedly the underdog in their matchup with the New Orleans Saints. In some ways they are jumping out of the frying pan into the fire by losing a game just this past Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys, and having less than a week to recover before facing the Saints. Just to put things in perspective, the New Orleans Saints have nine straight wins after only one loss, plus they are #1 in the NFC South. They already beat the Falcons once this year and were tied for best record in the NFL up until yesterday when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Kansas City Chiefs, pushing the Rams’ record up to 10-1. The Falcons on the other hand have an unimpressive 4-6 record. As we know so well in the financial services industry, “past performance is not an indicator of future results,” and that same maxim seems to ring true with Atlanta if one believes history is any barometer. I say this because the Atlanta Falcons lead in all-time matchups against the Saints at 52-47. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether they can make the all-time record 53-47.
Fun Fact: Did you know more Americans favor Thanksgiving than the Fourth of July or New Year’s Day?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Melody Beattie
Now that we’ve reviewed reasons to be thankful this holiday season, some mouthwatering recipes to distinguish your Thanksgiving dinner table, fun crafts to enjoy and distract while the real work is being done in the kitchen, and possible movies and NFL games to cheerfully watch with family/friends, take time to mull over this article. Set or rearrange your game plan. And when you sit down with your loved ones for Thanksgiving dinner, be thankful for everyone and everything that makes it possible. But don’t stop there. Make sure you communicate to family and friends how grateful you are to have them in your life and share a wonderful time together during Thanksgiving 2018.
Mink Wealth wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!