Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's more than just delicious food and beautiful aromas, though. What I love the most about this time of year is the focused moments of gratitude, spending time with family and friends, and creating memories that I know will last a lifetime.
I still remember the first Thanksgiving my husband and I were dating. He was on his first deployment to Afghanistan, and these were the good old days of SAT phones and writing letters - plus, since I was just a girlfriend, I wasn't able to get much information from the FRO, so I relied on spouses that I knew to keep me posted on things. I celebrated the holiday with my family, and he celebrated with MREs and not showering for two months ...
Since then, we've had many more Thanksgivings, both together and apart, but no matter where they are spent, I always try to focus on the following.
For my family and I, Thanksgiving is centered around the concept of gratitude. Since becoming a mom, I've tried to instill this idea into my children no matter the time of year, but it always comes into play a little more during Thanksgiving. During this time of year, we spend more time focused on writing cards and daily notes reflecting on the positive aspects of our lives and the blessings we have (we love our Turkey on the Table for this).
2. Family and Friends
Whether spending time with our immediate family or hosting a Friendsgiving, I love how this holiday provides time for loved ones to come together, share a meal, and enjoy one another's company.
This time of year always provides ample volunteering opportunities, no matter where you are. Last year, my oldest and I helped bring a Thanksgiving feast to some of the local homeless people, and it was so special getting to watch my son serve these men and women with a smile on his face and then hear his thoughts afterward.
As a military family, we know firsthand how difficult the holidays can be. Whether spouses are deployed or you're just far away from immediate family members, Thanksgiving sometimes looks different for us. But that's okay! Friendsgivings have been some of the best moments, and opening our home to single Marines, filling their bellies, playing games, and just laughing together is what it's all about.
5. Food and Traditions
The Thanksgiving food is always something to talk about. Still, being that I'm a vegetarian, I try to incorporate different fall recipes that aren't necessarily common Thanksgiving Day foods, like last year's Spicy Pumpkin and Pesto Stuffed Shells recipe from Half-Baked Harvest (it was delicious!).
No matter what your Thanksgiving looks like, take time to remember the pockets of goodness in your life, the friends and family you have, and maybe even invite someone new to the table. You never know what kind of new traditions you can start or friendships you can make. What will Thanksgiving look like for you this year?