Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Take a break with a gratitude meditation

This year, I have been learning and practicing meditation and mindfulness as part of my self care and personal development. I wanted to share this gratitude meditation. It’s only 5 minutes long.

If you feel your attention wandering, just notice the feeling or thought and turn your attention back to your breath. It’s normal to feel distracted or think of other things.

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Turkey Day Trivia!


  1. Who painted “Freedom from Want?” in 1943, depicting a Thanksgiving scene?
  2. Say “thank you” in Spanish, French, Italian and German.

  3. What is the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”?

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A playlist of Thanksgiving-perfect songs

You know what goes great with a Thanksgiving meal and get-together?


A soft backdrop of positive, beautiful music sets a gracious mood and enhances conversation, not takes away from it. It is calming, and a proven mood-lifter and stress-buster. Music has been shown to help you slow down and really enjoy food, as well as make healthy eating choices.

There are some great songs about gratitude and togetherness. I put some together a list of 18 songs that seemed to work well together for the occasion. These songs feature some feel-good, familiar tracks, plenty of acoustic guitar, and sweet lyrics. New songs include Jack Johnson’s tender holiday song, “New Axe” and Andrew Bird’s “Manifest.” Familiar hits include Natalie Merchant’s “Kind and Generous” and Taylor Swift’s anthem to her mother, “Good Day.” If you’d like to take a listen, check out the YouTube playlist.

Which songs would you select for your Thanksgiving meal or get-together? Other suggestions?

Cool Yule Thanksgiving Playlist

  1. Andrew Bird – Manifest
  2. Avett Brothers – Better Here
  3. Bon Iver – Faith
  4. Kelly Clarkson – Thankful
  5. Foster the People – Sit Next To Me
  6. Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats
  7. Jack Johnson – New Axe
  8. Lumineers – Ho Hey
  9. Phillip Phillips – Gone, Gone, Gone
  10. Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous
  11. Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait
  12. Phillip Phillips – Home
  13. Sixpence None the Richer – Breathe Your Name
  14. Ed Sheeran – Autumn Leaves
  15. Taylor Swift – The Best Day
  16. James Taylor – Shower the People
  17. 10,000 Maniacs – These Are Days
  18. Wilco – You and I

Thanksgiving gifts

Are you having Thanksgiving in someone else’s home? Then, you’ll want to bring a gift to show your appreciation. Here is an assortment of ideas from Cracker Barrel.

The year there were TWO Thanksgivings

Here’s a Thanksgiving episode of the Jack Benny Show from 1939. The running gag is that there were two Thanksgivings that year…and there really was!

A Newsweek Magazine 1939 cartoon that depicted which states were celebrating which Thanksgiving date. Note that the Pilgrim looks like FDR! (Wikimedia)

Thanksgiving had not yet been set as a fixed holiday, as it was set each year by Presidential Proclamation. Presidents had traditionally set Thanksgiving for the last Thursday in November as President Lincoln had first done.

But in 1939, President Roosevelt acquiesed to the request of retailers who wanted to have an additional week of Christmas gift sales. At that time, shoppers tended not to shop for Christmas presents until after Thanksgiving.

In 1939, Thanksgiving was to fall on November 30, which was so late in the month, he moved it up to the 23rd.

However, calendars had already printed Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November. School breaks and Thanksgiving Day football games had to be rescheduled. It was quite the mess! Some states adhered to one Thanksgiving date, other states the other. Some people were so irritated, they called it “Franksgiving” (after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Twenty-three states and the District honored the 23rd date. Twenty-two states stuck with the 30th date, including Virginia. And three states celebrated on BOTH dates!

I think we can assume the Macy’s Day Parade that year took place on the 23rd, as President Roosevelt was from New York. Here’s a clip of the Parade in 1939. Can you spot Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?

Congress ultimately passed a law in December 1941 so that Thanksgiving would always fall on the fourth Thursday of the year.

Jack Benny was a funny man but he also gave most of the best lines to his colleagues, including Mary Livingstone, whose real name was Sadie Marks (she later had it changed legally to Mary Livingstone). In the program, Mary was a friend of Jack’s, but in real life, they were actually married. She became popular on the radio program after appearing as a stand-in for a last-minute cancellation. She received so much fan mail, NBC kept her on as a regular. She is a standout in this episode.

Free Thanksgiving Meals in Northern Virginia and DC

Are you having one of those years? We’ve all been there, one time or another. You are not alone and support is available.

Here is a short list of places that are offering free Thanksgiving meals and fellowship for people who are in recovery, are experiencing homelessness or are coping with financial challenges or other problems.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and keep on keeping on!

  • Sheltered and unsheltered homeless people can enjoy a meal at The Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston (next to the Reston Public Library) at no cost. Call for more information (703) 437-1975.
  • The Unity Club in Falls Church City is a hub for 12-step meetings and fellowship in recovery. They are offering a free, potluck Thanksgiving meal from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. You can sign up in advance to bring a dish of your choosing, but it’s not required.
  • The Salvation Army serves a free meal, the Safeway Feast of Sharing, on Wednesday, the day BEFORE Thanksgiving, to more than 5,000 people at the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington, DC.


Thanksgiving for one: making a solitary holiday special

Have you ever spent Thanksgiving by yourself? You’re not alone! Maybe you are one of the people who…

  • Are single and live alone; a growing population in nearly every age range.
  • Share custody of their kids and it’s not their turn to spend Thanksgiving with them this year.
  • Can’t afford to travel to see distant relatives.
  • Don’t have any family members left or are estranged from their family.
  • Work on Thanksgiving Day or on Black Friday.
  • Experience depression, anxiety or other challenges that cause them to isolate.
  • Enjoy having the day to themselves.

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