Talking Turkey About Thanksgiving | Seventh Generation
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Talking Turkey About Thanksgiving

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7 comments
Author: the Inkslinger

Thanksgiving on the LakeWhile the first Thanksgiving is generally remembered as the one held by the Indians and Pilgrims in 1621, that famous event was actually a three-day harvest celebration of the colony's first successful growing season. For the Puritans, a day of thanksgiving was hardly a party. It was a solemn occasion marked by prayer and, quite ironically, fasting instead of feasting.

When American presidents and governors began to declare days of thanksgiving in the 1700s, religious connotation remained. Under Abraham Lincoln, a national Thanksgiving Day was made an annual affair. Soon thereafter a mythic connection to the pilgrim's legendary dinner was made, and the event morphed into a harvest holiday marked by a great meal of indigenous American foods.

As different as these many Thanksgivings have been through the years, they've all had the same ultimate purpose: to express gratitude for the good things with which we have been blessed. While this means many things to many people, a growing number of Americans are interpreting it as a chance to give something back. They're abstaining from overindulgence and dedicating the day to good deeds. Call it an alternative Thanksgiving, and here are some favorite ways to spend the day:

  •     Donate food to local organizations that feed the hungry.
  •     Help cook and serve a meal at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  •     Invite to dinner someone who otherwise would be alone that day.
  •     Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  •     Remember your elderly neighbors, and visit a senior center or nursing home.
  •     Go hiking. If the weather is right where you live, pack some turkey (or Tofurky) sandwiches and head into the great outdoors to give thanks for nature's life-sustaining wonder.
  •     Plant some trees. The dormant, leafless state they assume in autumn marks an ideal time for successful transplanting.
  •     Spend the day assembling care packages for U.S. troops overseas. One organization facilitating such care packages is Any Soldier, but the internet abounds with organizations that can help.

Activities like these can create important holiday memories and become meaningful traditions for your family. They refresh the true meaning of Thanksgiving, and that's really something to celebrate.

photo: Mathew Ingram

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Comments

Crazygracey picture
Crazygracey
11/21/11
I see that many people are against buying turkeys all together in this post. I would like to make it aware that buying turkeys from the local stores are the ones coming from turkey factory's that do torture the animals, just like any other meat product. But instead of buying from a store you can buy from a natural free range turkey farms..there is plenty out there you just have to look for them. And I am sure those farmers would love for you to eat their well raised turkey's at your thanksgiving feast. Buy LOCAL!!! That is what it is all about, or raise your own if you have the time..just like many people raise and eat there own chickens. Not everyone can be vegan and pushing the idea on them by sending judgment is not the way to go, you do it by informing, that is what seventh generation is about and other environmental societies. Information is the key :) Not every animal is raised wrong and cruel, eliminating store bought meats is the way to go. Go directly to the farm or find a local farmers market. Thank you Ink slinger for bringing this information to us :D
Robert M picture
Robert M
11/26/09
It seems to me that a lot of folks think that by giving their time, money or effort out to people in need, they are fulfilling their God given commandment to help one another. What about a stranger? Would you invite him/her into your home and feed them? Would you treat them equally; just because they don't have the things you have? Is Thanksgiving the only time the family sits together at the table and gives thanks to the Lord? All three major religions teach that you are to do this daily and at each meal. Would you pray in a Restaraunt? Give thanks this day and rejoice by bringing someone who has less than you into your home. They are easy to find at VA Hospitals and assisted living center.
mhinca picture
mhinca
11/12/09
This year we are not traveling to visit family until the weekend following Thanksgiving. My son's scout troop is part of a program which offers families the opportunity to host military recruits for Thanksgiving dinner. My family is looking forward to meeting and sharing the time with two deserving sailors!
zoe4me2000 picture
zoe4me2000
11/12/09
There is a level of disconnect that is astounding when people sit around a table to celebrate the season, but they do it around a once sentient being that has spent its life being tortured. Turkey producers crowd birds by the thousands in warehouses, allowing them inadequate room to establish a functional pecking order, and fighting among frustrated birds is rampant. Unable to engage in natural behavoirs, they also suffer amputattion to the tips of the toes and a portion of the upper beak. This painful and sometimes fatal procedure is the overture to a life of stress, filth and disease in which the turkeys are never once allowed to go outdoors. In addition, factory farming is the number one cause of water pollution in the U.S. Our actions and our choices do matter. I wonder if there will ever be a time when the country gets over its turkey obsession for the holidays by celebrating in a way that truly gives back by making compassionate, cruelty-free, and environmentally sound eating choices.
catspal picture
catspal
11/11/09
How about giving back a life to the turkeys. Please be aware that factory farmed animals suffer tremendous abuse. And by purchasing meat products, you are contributing to that suffering. There are many vegetarian options and websites that offer nutritious, yummy veggie alternatives to your Thanksgiving meal. My family has been veg for 13 years and we have had delicious holiday meals better than anything we had in our meat eating days. Happy Thanksgiving - Save a life, go veg. Oh and just want to mention that factory farms are one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases, so you'll also be saving the environment.
tedtraci picture
tedtraci
11/11/09
For our family, it means reflecting even more on the God who made this world and gives so much to us. We seek to help and serve others throughout the year for this reason, but especially on Thanksgiving. We do want to be good stewards of the earth, but contrary to the statement above in the Seventh Gen. newsletter article, the world has not given us what we should be thankful for - God has.
MotherLodeBeth picture
MotherLodeBeth
11/11/09
For years we have had widows and other elderly AND college students who cannot afford to go home for Thanksgiving, over for a day of fun and good food. Its been so dang much fun, because the older folks feel alive being around the college students, and the college students leave wiser for being around elders. Thus Thanksgiving Day in our home is about building a bridge not a wall. ~Beth~