For many married couples, Thanksgiving Day is a time for families and friends to reunite, watch football games and Thanksgiving Day parades, consume a lot of traditional Thanksgiving Day foods, and to remember and share old stories and experiences. Learn how to put your marriage first on one of the biggest American holidays.
Put Your Relationship First
The most important thing the two of you can do to make your Thanksgiving Day holiday a joyous and stress-free occasion is to put your relationship with one another first.
- Stand together and support one another as you communicate your holiday decisions to your families and friends.
- When making decisions about where to go, who to see, and how to spend the day, remember to make decisions together that are healthy for your marriage.
A Peaceful and Meaningful Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day for the two of you may not match what you ideally envision. It might be a day of stress, conflict, and turmoil in your marriage. Here are some tips for making the holiday more peaceful, calm, and meaningful.
- Consider having your own Thanksgiving Day dinner alone. You can join your families later for dessert.
- If you don't want to choose between which family to spend the holiday with, then get away together. You don't have to go far either. There are probably some great resorts near your home that have holiday packages that include a romantic place to stay and Thanksgiving dinner.
- You can also get away as a family if you have children. Try Thanksgiving dinner at a theme park or resort hotel.
- If you are in an interfaith marriage, instead of saying grace at dinner, try having a moment of silence before eating. Or just stick with the traditional idea of having everyone at the table share what they are thankful for.
- Sometime during the day, take a nap or a break from the festivities.
- Share the blessings you each feel in your marriage when you can grab a moment to yourselves.
- If the two of you are hosting the Thanksgiving Day dinner, remember to try and keep balance in your lives.
- Don't strive for perfection in either the way your home looks, the way your kids behave, or the way the meal turns out.
- Decide together in advance on who will do what when it comes to the straightening the house, planning, preparation, cooking, and clean up responsibilities.
- Look for ways to go beyond the inner circle of yourselves and your families by taking canned foods to a place of worship or a local food bank. Think about helping to distribute hot meals on Thanksgiving Day.
- Tell a story from your past Thanksgiving celebrations to each other.
- Have a blessing basket with slips of paper and pens available for everyone to write down ways they feel they have been blessed this past year. Sometime during the day, ask everyone to share what they wrote (but don't force this on anyone).
- Play board or card games instead of watching T.V.
- Take a walk together.
- Make sure you have some quiet time during the day.
- Watch a favorite holiday movie together.
- Do the unexpected and ask all your guests to work on a simple Thanksgiving craft project.
- Read about the History of Thanksgiving Day
Spend some time on Thanksgiving Day reflecting on the historical aspects of the day. Thanksgiving Day, in the United States, was a tradition that began in 1621, as a day to count one's blessings and to give thanks to God. It was officially first proclaimed as a holiday by the Continental Congress in 1777. The actual date for Thanksgiving Day changed several times throughout the years in the U.S. In 1941, the U.S. Congress set the fourth Thursday of November as the official day to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
International Thanksgiving Celebrations
Here are some other countries that also have set aside days to give thanks.
- Ancient Chinese, Chung Ch'ui, during harvest time.
- Ancient Greeks, during autumn, a festival to honor the goddess of corn and grains, Demeter.
- Ancient Romans, during autumn, a celebration honoring the goddess of corn, Ceres.
- Brazil, Dia Nacional de Acao de Gracas, 4th Thursday of November.
- British Isles, Lammas Day, a harvest festival.
- Canada, Thanksgiving Day or Fete de Grace, or Harvest home Festival, 2nd Monday in October.
- Germany, Erntedankfest, 1st Sunday in October.
- Israel, Sukkot, the 5th day after Yom Kippur.
- Japan, Labor Thanksgiving Day, November 23.
- Korea, Chusok, 15th day of the eighth lunar month of the traditional Korean calendar.
- Liberia, Thanksgiving Day, 1st Thursday in November.
- Mexico, Independence Day, September 16th.
- Switzerland, The Federal Day of Thanks, Penance, and Prayer, 3rd Sunday in September.