Thanksgiving history – From fall feast to national holiday

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on November 13, 2019 with No Comments

The First Thanksgiving 

The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. In that year, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians.

A New National Holiday

By the mid–1800s, many states observed a Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor Sarah J. Hale had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy followed, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains.

(The preceding article was taken from the infoplease website. For more information, visit  

Put the “Giving” back into “Thanksgiving”

On Thanksgiving, many Americans are preoccupied with turkeys, parades, football games, and even Black Friday sales.

It seems that over time, this holiday has become more about getting things – whether that’s food, entertainment, or bargains – than about giving thanks for what we already have. (And really, that’s just a reflection of our society’s general gimme-gimme-gimme attitude.)

If you’re like most parents, you don’t want your children to grow up focused solely on themselves, concerned only with the latest video game or with how they can get their way. You want them to feel genuine gratitude for the blessings they have and to demonstrate thought and concern for others.

According to Todd Patkin, there’s no better time than the Thanksgiving holiday to help your children become less me-focused and more thoughtful.

“In general, I don’t believe that kids act selfishly because they genuinely don’t care about others – it’s more that they aren’t really sure how to help others and give back, because they aren’t being taught,” asserts Patkin, author of “Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and – Finally – Let the Sunshine In.”

“It’s crucial for adults – especially those of us who are parents – to start early when it comes to raising our kids with a passion for philanthropy, and Thanksgiving provides the perfect opportunity.”

“I’m convinced that the ‘Me Generation’ isn’t as egocentric at heart as it’s made out to be,” he said. “However, kids do need to be guided in a positive direction, and often, that starts in the home. Parents are the greatest influencers when it comes to developing their kids’ habits and behaviors – including cultivating a desire to give and to help others. If they see you giving back as a part of your regular life, they’ll learn that behavior and carry it with them into adulthood.”

Ready to help your child take the first steps from selfishness to selflessness?

1. Explain philanthropy to your children.

2. Make it a part of everyday life.

3. Reinforce the value of a random act of kindness.

4. Show them by doing.

5. Help your focus on how good it feels to give back

“Ultimately, raising children who understand the value of giving back – and whose lives reflect that knowledge – is one of the most philanthropically minded things parents can do, and this holiday provides the perfect opportunity,” Patkin concludes.

“Don’t forget that Thanksgiving isn’t just about ‘thanking’ – it’s about giving as well. After all, the original celebrants gave their food and friendship to one another, and helping others is an American legacy I’d like to see continue. And from a parental point of view, you’ll be amazed at how rewarding it is to raise philanthropists, and how much stronger giving back makes your relationship with your kids.”

Share This Article

About Chronicle Staff

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

Comments for Thanksgiving history – From fall feast to national holiday are now closed.