in the midst of everything going on, I don’t have any urge to buy anything that is on sale right now. But I do want to take some time to reflect on the plentitude I have and gratitude.
This year I am thankful for:
- My brother moving to New York and being able to spend more time with him than I have since… I left for college, maybe? And being in the same city as him since the same time?
- Having the means to both support a local restaurant for Thanksgiving for a second pandemic year and supplement that meal with more of our favorite sides and desserts that we always finish too soon and wish we had leftovers of
- The good health of myself and my loved ones
- Modern medicine and public health measures that have helped make said good health possible
- All of the well wishes from folks in the wake of my grandmother’s passing
- Being able to attend 4 weddings over the past 3 months after not seeing anyone in person for a year and a half
- Making new friends locally despite a global pandemic
- … who let us enjoy cat-sitting and their fantastic view of the Thanksgiving parade
- Technology allowing me to stay in touch with my parents (and my other long-distance friends and extended family), even after not seeing them for 2 years
Before I go on, I wanted to take a moment to gently remind myself and any readers here that the myth of the first Thanksgiving is, in fact, a myth. Here are a few things I’ve learned about the history of Thanksgiving:
- The Wampanoags were not invited to the Pilgrims’ harvest feast, despite being the reason the Pilgrims were able to have a bountiful harvest
- Squanto, the Native American man who is known for teaching the Pilgrims how to grow crops, was named Tisquantum and spoke English because he had been kidnapped years prior and sold into slavery in Europe. He learned English to return home, where he found his entire tribe had been wiped out, whereupon he joined the Wampanoags
(There are some claims about thanksgiving days being declared in lieu of events like the 1637 massacre of a Pequot village, but upon further research, these don’t seem to be any more related to our current Thanksgiving traditions than the dozens of other days of thanks-giving, which were usually marked by prayer rather than feasting.)
There is a reason that the 4th Thursday of November is observed as the National Day of Mourning by Indigenous people, who are mourning centuries of racism and mistreatment that has only just begun to get national and international attention.
If you are shopping for gifts during this sale period, might I suggest looking into some Native-owned businesses to spend your money with? This gift guide includes 41 businesses that sell everything from clothing and accessories to books and food and drink. As I mentioned in Resolutions and Other Goals, I really want to reduce my spending at big corporations and support smaller businesses instead, especially those that are women- and/or BIPOC-owned. As Native American Heritage Month comes to a close, please consider supporting Indigenous people and taking the time to learn whose land you currently are on.
I’m still learning a lot about our complicated history with Native Americans in the United States, and with the Indigenous people of other countries, but it’s been a really worthwhile journey because so much knowledge has been almost lost in the efforts to suppress these rich cultures. This knowledge is incredibly valuable in so many ways, one of which is conservation and preservation of the local environment.
A few snapshots I got from my friends’ apartment of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was back on this year!
It’s been a really strange Thanksgiving this year, but I do feel extraordinarily grateful to have been able to spend it with my husband AND my brother, which is a really rare treat. During a time when it’s very easy to think about how much we’ve lost and are going without, having time to take stock of all that we still do have and even the bit that we’ve gained is really precious.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate, and that you are taking the steps to make yourself happier and the world a better place.
I ask this every time I get around to a Thanksgiving post, but what are your favorite Thanksgiving foods?
I’m a sides ‘n’ pies girl all the way. Mashed potatoes reign supreme, and November doesn’t feel quite complete if I haven’t had pumpkin pie. BUT, this year I think I really came to appreciate a nice roasted vegetable medley (I do Brussels sprouts and butternut squash) and pecan pie.