Thankfulness, Not Thanksgiving

by Ragtimelil

I decided some years ago to forego the celebration of Thanksgiving. These are the reasons I gave it up.

I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. It has become a day of overstressed cooks serving too much food to people who eat too much of it and then sleep it off or watch football.
I haven’t had family nearby for the past 40 years and had to start turning down invitations to other people’s Thanksgiving dinners. It seemed there would always be a family scene, good or bad, that didn’t include me. I was always the odd one out. It was just too uncomfortable. So Thanksgiving became my traditional, “take the dogs on an outing” day.
One year I decided I didn’t like turkey enough to have a huge bird stuffed in my refrigerator where I’d have to pick at it for a week or two. I decided what I really craved was enchiladas. I made the best enchiladas ever.

Being Mindful

Besides all that, I thought I should be thankful every day, not just one day a year.

Being thankful or grateful every day is not an easy task. I often find myself sliding back into frustration, anger, and desperation. The first step I take is to get myself into a state of mindfulness. I try to feel the present. Sometimes I just say to myself, “” The past is gone. Dwelling there is a waste. The future hasn’t arrived. Dwelling there is just a fantasy. The now is the only thing there truly is. I focus on my breathing and even sit still if I have to.


Making a Grateful List

I then start to list a few things I’m grateful for. It’s easy at first. I have my health. My hands, eyes, and feet all work. I have enough to eat right now. I have a safe place to sleep.

I try to add new things every day. I’m grateful for friends. I’m grateful for family. It starts to get harder. When I really keep at it, I start to acknowledge that I’m grateful for things as they happen or as I see them. I’m grateful for that flower. I’m grateful for that sunset.


Being grateful helps to dispel the low moods I am prone to. It can bring a sense of joy into my life. I do sometimes forget and sink back into my gloomy thoughts, but if I remember to be thankful everyday, I feel much better.

I’m not a guru or life coach or therapist. I’m only sharing what works for me. I would love to hear what works for you.


More Thoughts on Gratitude

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
Cultivate a feeling of Appreciation and Gratitude. Enjoy your day and Life will return the feelings with interest. I am so grateful that I have such a family my cup runneth over.
Control freaks find that a very annoying saying. I live my life according to it. How do we just 'let go' and 'let it be'?

"It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed
in the same moment."
Naomi Williams, Body, Mind and Spirit

Updated: 08/16/2012, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 11/09/2012

Yes, I try to count my blessings every day. It certainly could be worse.
I like the movies and chocolate idea!

HollieT on 11/09/2012

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but just like anywhere else there's always the hoop-la about Christmas. Myself and my two kids (they're 15 and 20) visit my mum and my sister on Xmas day- nice dinner, but I'm always glad to come home. Then me and the kids just play dvds (to escape xmas tv) and munch on chocolate. I like that bit.

It's all a bit overrated if you ask me. My neighbour was only telling me last year how she didn't understand how I'd stayed on my own with kids for so long, I told it was a desirable alternative to the nuclear family. She raised her eyebrows. The very same week her husband packed his bags and left her for a woman at work. In terms of staying grateful and positive, I've been reading the search terms on an article of mine, all of them really sad but one sticks out in particular "Single parent homeless and hungry with three kids, where can i find food" That's when I realise how fortunate I am.

Ragtimelil on 11/09/2012

It is good to have a time to get together with family. I just haven't had that in more years than I can count.

Mira on 11/09/2012

I love Thanksgiving myself but I agree we should be giving thanks every day.

Ragtimelil on 08/17/2012

It is nice to do something special for family sometimes. I don't get depressed on holidays, just any time. It's my nature. That's why counting blessings is important for me to get out of that mood.

BrendaReeves on 08/16/2012

I really enjoyed cooking Thanksgiving dinner when my children were all at home. I enjoy not cooking it now. The same goes for Christmas. My children go to the in-laws house. I lay on the sofa with my dogs and watch movies all day. I treat it like any other day in my mind. I don't get depressed, but I'm glad when the holidays are over and life is back to normal.

Ragtimelil on 08/16/2012

I prefer Thanksgivings alone now. I don't know what it'll be like this year - being within reach of my dad...

dustytoes on 08/16/2012

I have been there in that dark pit where all I can do is think about what I am grateful for in the moment. The thing is, even on my most hopeless-feeling days, I knew that the awful feelings would pass. I just had to wait. I had my faith to fall back on and prayed a lot. Also listened to encouraging Christian music was a great help for me.
I have spent Thanksgivings alone. One year I was renting a place and took a walk only to see families in their yards hanging out which made me more depressed than ever. Now I just stay home - being thankful that I have a home - and enjoy the fact that I don't have to cook a turkey!

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