Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving this Monday, October 10th!
It seems that each year there are things that make it exceedingly difficult to move past and forward. Fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanos, and countless other tragedies beyond our personal control. Many of us also may have to endure illness, death, hardships, and disappointment within our immediate circle. Having said all that, there are still many, many reasons to give thanks. One of my core reasons is simply being Canadian. As Canadians, we have a true Democracy, Freedom from hate speech, Universal Healthcare, Gun sensibility, Multiculturalism, a diverse and beautiful country, important and unique wildlife, and of course what we are known for – manners, civility, and niceness.
The first Thanksgiving holiday was held in Canada in 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness. Most of us think of Thanksgiving as a harvest festival; originally celebrated in conjunction with Armistice (Remembrance) Day. In 1957 the holiday was officially recognized as a statuary holiday to be celebrated on the second Monday of October each year. This year Thanksgiving falls on Monday, October 12th.
Did you know Canada was the first country in the Americas to celebrate Thanksgiving? Long before explorers and settlers arrived from Europe, Thanksgiving was a First Nations Aboriginal celebration. Native people held ceremonies and festivals to celebrate the completion and bounty of the harvest. By the 18th century, Europeans adopted the holiday and many Thanksgivings were held following noteworthy events such as refugees fleeing the civil war in the United States.
Modern-day Canadian Thanksgiving is a long weekend set aside for gatherings and getaways with family and friends.
How many cooks does it take to stuff a turkey? Only one, but you really have to squeeze him in!
Gobble Till You Wobble
Get out the stretchy pants! Traditionally, most people have an elaborate meal and eat themselves silly – gorging on turkey with all the trimmings – mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, autumn vegetables, and pumpkin pie. Even though turkey is the most common meal, it isn’t mandatory and certainly not limited to the bird. Plenty of families bake a ham, roast meats, serve dim sum, chicken or, whatever suits their fancy. Unlike the American holiday in November, we do not celebrate Black Friday. Our weekend wraps up with leftovers, relatives overstaying their welcome, cousins terrorizing other cousins’ pets and the biggest pile of dishes in the sink.
“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants.”
~Kevin James American comedian, actor, writer, and producer, best known for his starring role on The King of Queens.
Pumpkins – only a Modern Staple of Thanksgiving?
Pumpkins are one of the important symbols of the harvest festival. They were introduced to the early settlers by Native Indians. The edible parts are the flowers, leaves, seeds, shell, and pulp and in early days, beer was made from pumpkins. Without pumpkins, settlers might have died from starvation.
“I don’t eat pumpkin pie. It’s made from the guts of jack-o-lanterns, and that’s just spooky.”
– Melanie White
Did you know that pumpkin is extremely high in fiber, low in calories, packs an abundance of disease-fighting nutrients (potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins C & E), and is one of the richest supplies of bioavailable carotenoids known to man? That makes it an extraordinary nutritional superstar.
And don’t forget the seeds! They are a good source of protein and fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Pumpkin seeds have been considered both a food and a medicine in many cultures for centuries. (By the way, pumpkin is not a vegetable; it’s a fruit. Like melons, it’s a member of the gourd family.)
Superfood Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Parfait
• 1/4 cup plain pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
• 1/2 large frozen banana
• 1 to 1 1/2 cups almond milk (great for flavor and thickness!)
• 1 tablespoon chia seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Blend all ingredients in a blender, adding the almond milk until reaching the desired consistency. Pour into a glass and add optional toppings such as crumbled graham crackers, peanut butter or any other nut butter or simply some cinnamon. YUM!
Pumpkin is a Hero Vegetable! Try it 15 delicious ways.
Pumpkin spice and everything nice! Eat, drink and be thankful!
Be Grateful – Always
Some people believe that modern society suffers from Gratitude Deficient Disorder – meaning we forget that gratitude needs to be verbally expressed on a regular basis – not just at Thanksgiving. Involving some action wouldn’t hurt, either.
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks in all the various parts of our lives – family, friends and our professional lives.
There is always something to be thankful for. If we agree that gratitude is the best attitude, do a little self-reflection by asking yourself three questions.
- What kind of things do we feel grateful for?
- How can we act on our gratitude in ways that are meaningful to others?
- When and how often should we engage in being grateful?
Studies tell us that each of us is a benefactor when we show gratitude to others and thank them for their impact on our lives. We can return the favor by donating our time, offering to take on a task and recognizing their value by saying thank you.
Who deserves thanks @ Thanksgiving (and throughout the year)?
How often do we really show gratitude or express thanks to all the people around us?
- The office manager, receptionist and office gatekeepers that simplify our day
- The janitorial staff that clean up after us
- A mentor, teacher or professor who opens our eyes to see new perspectives and opportunities
- The cashier who serves us coffee every morning
- The waiter at our favorite restaurant
- The bus driver who safely gets us to your destination day in and day out
Thanksgiving is also a time for entrepreneurs to acknowledge how far they’ve come and the people who helped them get there.
Give Thanks & Give Back: How Business can do both
We all know that Business 101 is all about “find a need and fill it”. It is not uncommon for companies to use this kind of thinking in a “volunteer time off” or “VTO” program that allows for a paid day-off each year for community causes. Often Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs include company-wide volunteer programs such as sending a team out to a Habitat for Humanity build, arranging a Blood Donor Clinic, support in natural disasters, serving meals in a shelter, etc.
Research shows that companies that support the volunteering efforts of their employees experience lower staff turnover rates, foster better interpersonal relationships and build team spirit. In some cases, these programs may even help people benefit from new experiences by building confidence, compassion and skills.
Thanksgiving brings to mind “Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives” Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives is a great website to peruse. Worth noting is a list of “50 Ways to Show Gratitude for the People in Your Life” that covers off suggestions on how to show gratitude to:
- People Who Love You
- People Who Challenge You
- People Who Serve You
- People Who Work with You
When people notice that you appreciate their efforts, they’ll naturally make more effort to please you in the future.
In closing …..
It’s the Thanksgiving long weekend – time to give thanks for friends, family, and especially our clients!