Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Comes First

And there's a scientifically valid reason why it should!

Yes, Suldog is leading the charge again, and i thank him, because it's the right thing to do.

When you think of the end of the year holidays, what comes to mind?  For me, it's often a song, including the one with the line, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

What is supposed to make it so wonderful, so joyous, so special?  Time with family and friends, of course, to begin.  Parties and games and fun, to continue.  Let's not forget that we are all supposed to be happy at this time of year, getting things we've been longing for that will make us happy.

Unfortunately, scientifically speaking, it doesn't work.

We think that by getting stuff, we will be happy.  So, why are we still wanting more stuff?  If getting stuff made us happy, how come it didn't work last year and/or how come last year's stuff isn't still doing the trick?

All the research is pointing to the fact that getting doesn't make us happy, giving does, and that includes giving thanks.  Even more research is showing that there is a direct correlation between a happy and joyful life and being grateful and thankful.

In one experiment i heard about, people were given $5 and one group was told to go get themselves something with it.  The second group was told to buy something and surprise someone else with it.  Both then rated how happy it made them feel.

The second group was the happier group.  This shows that money brings happiness when you are giving it, not just always receiving, or spending on yourself.

In another experiment, some people were asked to write down five things for which they were grateful every day for a month.  Others were asked to write down their hassles and problems instead.  Guess who was the happier group at the end of the experiment?

The fact is, the gimme, gimme, gimme greed of running over Thanksgiving is a huge rush to get to the holidays beyond will not make this the most wonderful time of your year.  It will make it the most stressed and miserable.

If, instead, we take the time out, individually, as families, and as a nation, to be thankful for what we already have, we will enter the season of joy with more calm and happiness.  We will be ready to give and not just get.  We will be able to have joy at a time when there used to be so much stress.

Now, if you are a person who shops a little bit all year long, getting things for people as you find the right item, making sure you can fit all your loved ones into your budget, go right ahead.  You are probably a person who takes time out for Thanksgiving anyway, because you are not a messy and disorganized person like me.

The rest of us, though, should try the experiment.  Pause in the rush toward ending the year and be grateful.  Count your blessings, among which is living in a nation where there is such a holiday as Thanksgiving, meaning that the underlying principle of being grateful for what we have is understood.

Stop and smell the turkey and gravy (or, in the case of us vegans, the veggie burgers) and pause for a time to be thankful.  Spend a day telling your family how grateful you are for them, remembering all of your blessings, and laughing once again at Uncle Joe, who always falls asleep on the couch watching football and then snores so loudly that he scares Aunt Mabel's yip yip dog.

Take time out to be thankful, and you will make the upcoming season the most wonderful time of your year.

Try to practice Thanksgiving Comes First, and prove me wrong, i dare you.

Today is:

A Community Affair -- Menomonee Falls, WI, US (country lunch, arts, crafts, and collectibles, quilt raffle, and more)

Adai Caddo Indian Nation Pow Wow -- Robeline, LA, US

Armilustrium -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival of Mars)

Autumn Historic Folklife Festival -- Hannibal, MO, US (Tom Sawyer's hometown celebrates the heritage and traditions of the 1800s; through tomorrow)

Bettara-Ichi -- Ebisu Shrine, Tokyo, Japan (Pickle Market Fair, enjoy the pickled radishes, a specialty; through tomorrow)

Boun Ok Phansa -- Laos (Buddhist Lent Ends; a festival is celebrated, with hundreds of decoroated candle-lit floats, made of paper, set adrift in the rivers)

Bridge Day -- New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville, WV, US (world's biggest extreme sports event)

Constitution Day -- Niue

Deutsch Country Days -- Marthasville, MO, US (authentic recreation of early German life in Missouri; through tomorrow)

Dita e Lumturimit te Nene Terezes -- Albania (Mother Teresa Day)

Evaluate Your Life Day -- a day to make sure your life is heading where you want, and course correct if it isn't; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Greasy Spoon Day -- internet generated, a day to go revel in the love of your favorite greasy spoon diner

International Human Rights Day -- Turks and Caicos Islands

Leif Ericson Day Celebration -- Philadelphia, PA, US (seeking to both celebrate the first European to land in the New World and promulgate a realistic historic image of the Viking people)

Missouri Day Festival -- Trenton, MO, US (parade, baby show, flea market, entertainment, and fun; through tomorrow)

Monster Mash Day -- Bogue Falaya Park, Covington, LA, US (annual fundraiser for the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Parenting Center, with a day of fun for everyone)

Nagoya Festival -- Nagoya, Japan (biggest festival in the city; through tomorrow)

National Seafood Bisque Day

Old Farmers Day -- Loranger, LA, US (through tomorrow; learn how farmers used to live)

Quincy Preserves Fall Architectural Tour -- Quincy, IL, US

Rattlesnake Festival and Gopher Races -- San Antonio, TX, US (wild animal fun, Texas style; through tomorrow)

Romp in the Swamp Fun Walk -- Appleton, WI, US (plus hayrides, face painting, an outdoor movie, animal shows, a campfire with s'mores, and more)

Roseland Cottage Fine Arts & Crafts Festival -- Woodstock, CT, US (one of the leading juried shows in New England; through tomorrow)

Samora Machel Day -- Mozambique

Seeking of King Look Under Your Mattress -- Fairy Calendar

Saint Mary's County Oyster Festival -- Leonardtown, MD, US (oysters served every style; through tomorrow)

St. Frideswide's Day (Patron of Oxford and the University of Oxford)

St. Rene Goupil's Day (Patron of anesthetists, anesthesiologists)

Sweetest Day -- begun by Herbert Birch Kingston, a candy company employee who decided it would be wonderful to distribute candy to the sick, shut-ins and orphans in Cleveland, OH; today is the day to do something for someone that makes him/her say, "Oh, that is so sweet!"

Wisconsin Dells Autumn Harvest Fest -- Wisconsin Dells, WI, US (includes a scarecrow stuffing contest, pumpkin decorating, microbrew tasting, and more; through tomorrow)

Woolly Worm Festival -- Banner Elk, NC, US (woolly bear caterpillars race up 3-ft pieces of string, winner gets to predict the severity of the upcoming winter; through tomorrow)

Yabusame Festival -- Koyama, Japan (horseback archery, samurai costumes and dragons, oh, my!)

Yorktown Victory Day -- VA, US

Birthdays Today:

Ty Pennington, 1965
Evander Holyfield, 1962
John Lithgow, 1945
Jeannie C. Riley, 1945
Peter Max, 1937
Robert Reed, 1932
John Le Carre, 1931
Jack Anderson, 1922

Today in History:

Battle of Zama, Scipio Africanus and his Roman legions defeat Hannibal Barca and the invading Carthagian army, BC202
King Gauseric and his Vandals take the city of Carthage, 439
The Thirteen Years' War ends with the Treaty of Thorn, 1466
Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology, 1512
The first general court is held in Boston, 1630
Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown at 2PM, end of the US Revolutionary War, 1781
Napoleon begins his retreat from Moscow, 1812
Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to receive a medical degree, 1849
The first 4 blacks are elected to the US House of Representatives, 1870
The USPS first used an automobile to collect and deliver mail, 1914
Streptomycin, the first antibiotic which could treat tuberculosis, is isolated at Rutgers University, 1943
Black Monday - the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points, 1987
Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II, 2003
Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity, 2005
Hurricane Wilma becomes the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record with a minimum pressure of 882 mb, 2005


  1. You're the best, and - this year - the first, so you'll be prominently displayed in the follow-up post I do. Thanks! Nice piece!

  2. I so agree with you. It's the giving that's the best. It's the focusing on the positive that's the best.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  3. The older I get the more thankful I become. I wasn't a very grateful youngster, so I don't know when the change kicked in! What you say is so, so true. Enjoy your Thanksgiving! We in the UK have to wait till Christmas for the turkey and gifts.

  4. Do I hear a Hallalujah? Couldn't make an effort to agree more. About the biggest thing on the holidays, is trying to find gifts that I think others would like. But we always like Thanksgiving because it IS a day for families...


  5. I totally agree! The other night i was a little bummed, and spent some time writing out some of my (many) blessings in my journal. I felt 10 times better!

  6. I 've experience how much better it feels to give rather than receive, but I don't put too much thought into defending Thanksgiving's place on the calendar.

  7. Mimi....a good and thoughtful post ....we gave up present buying years ago when the kids were all grown and now we give presents when we see something that would surprise and please. Meanwhile I am just plain thankful for my family, friends and where I live. I am so lucky.

  8. "Stop & smell the gravy". ! :o)
    Great line for the upcoming season, thanks!
    I'm going to use that one! :o)

    And yeah, recently I saw a comment where someone said, "there are plenty of Americans who feel that mass consumerism defines America". And I thought... :o( How terrible that is, especially since this person was saying that they felt this way, and they felt it was a good thing.

    It's nice to have nice things of course. But I too have read that research does indicate that accumulation of items or luxuries, gives very diminishing emotional returns right after the point where the person has a little more than enough to survive & live comfortably in their community.
    Obviously someone struggling with basics is going to have a lot of stress, which means that if they were to get those basics, it would increase happiness a great deal, just by cutting down on the stress.
    But beyond that, there's no evidence that say, super wealthy people, have any more fun or happiness around the holidays, or any other time, than modestly living people.

    But also, there's also been research to suggest that giving an EXPERIENCE is more happiness inducing than giving an item. Which is almost counter-intuitive. But it makes sense... You remember that pumpkin pie & having a heartfelt conversation with a cousin. It's an experience.

    Gifts can obviously be part of that experience, both giving and receiving... but I think it is indeed a big mistake to make that the focal point or main objective, during the holidays, or any other time.

    That said, my spouse's favourite holiday is Thanksgiving because he really likes that it's a time when plentiful eating is not only not unusual, but encouraged. ha ha ha Nobody needs to tell him to stop & smell the gravy! ;o)


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