As autumn draws to a close, families across America will be planning that curious celebration known as Thanksgiving. Despite not being widely celebrated outside the continent, there are things about this holiday that everyone could benefit from – namely, taking the time to pause and give thanks for everything you and your family have.
Remember the meaning of Thanksgiving
Unlike most western celebrations, there’s no real story or legend behind Thanksgiving – it began very simply as a celebration of the harvest and a chance to give thanks for the blessings of food, health and happiness. If you can keep gratitude for the good things in your life in mind throughout your preparations and the day itself, chances are you’ll also enjoy yourself a lot more.
Cook with the family
Preparing the traditional roast meal is a big task, and it can be overwhelming for one person. Get the children to help out to ease the workload, or volunteer yourself if your other half usually takes on cooking duties. Making it a family activity has the added effect of encouraging goodwill and co-operation even before you reach the dinner table.
It’s natural to want to make the dinner as great as possible, but remember to take a step back if it becomes too much. Your family aren’t going to be in a judgemental mood on this particular day – it’s about being thankful for what you have. Making an effort is the most important thing; so don’t panic over burnt potatoes.
Include the neighbours
Watching football on the television may be a staple of American Thanksgivings, but go one better and organise a game with your neighbours. It’s a fun way to spend some quality time with the people around you – and provides some much-needed exercise before the big feast.
Relax after dinner
You might be tempted to go to bed after dinner, but there aren’t many better opportunities to spend time with your family than after the Thanksgiving meal. All of the hard work of preparation is over – sit back, relax for a while and just enjoy talking and sharing.
Once you’ve shaken off the post-meal sluggishness, it’s the perfect opportunity to have fun with some old-fashioned games. Whether your family is more into Charades, Scrabble or Twister, a little bit of team competition is a great way to get everyone laughing and working together.
Give something back
Help out the less fortunate during the Thanksgiving season. Offer to volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or use some of those leftovers to prepare meals for the poor instead of throwing it away. Appreciating your blessings should also open your eyes to those less fortunate, so make sure you act on those charitable impulses.
Forget about bargain hunting
There are many better things to do in life than square off against other shoppers to battle over discount goods on ‘Black Friday,’ so instead of dashing out to the high street, put your feet up and relax – you’ve earned it!
If you want to experience an authentic Thanksgiving year after year, speak to Engel & Völkers about investing in US property. With our expert help, you could be hosting next year’s celebrations yourself in a brand-new American home!