Following you will find information on the History of Thanksgiving, its Traditions, information on Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Special Section, "An Attitude Of Gratitude" and more.  Enjoy our Thanksgiving Page and may you and yours have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.  Please feel free to print out this page and share it with your friends and family this holiday season. (this page is high in graphics, please be patient as it loads and make sure you have your speakers on and volume turned up)


Timeline of the American Thanksgiving Holiday

1541 During Coronado's expedition a Eucharistic thanksgiving,
with the friendly Teya Indians present, occurred in
Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas.
1621 Pilgrims and Native Americans enjoyed a harvest feast
in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This feast may have
become the model for today's American celebration.
1630 Settlers and colonists from many continents brought
customs of days of prayer and thanksgiving,
especially in New England, where the first
Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
was observed on July 8, 1630.
1777 The first Thanksgiving of the new United States of
America occurred in 1777 when General George
Washington and his army, as instructed by the
Continental Congress, stopped in bitter weather in
the open fields on their way to Valley Forge to mark
the occasion.
1789 Washington's first proclamation after his inauguration
as the nation's first president in 1789 declared
November 26, 1789, as a national day of "thanksgiving
and prayer."
1800s The annual presidential thanksgiving proclamations
ceased for 45 years in the early 1800s.
1863 President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition
in 1863.
26, 1941
President Roosevelt signed the bill establishing the
fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Because two years out of every seven have five
Thursdays in November, some states for the next 15
years celebrated on their own on the last Thursday.
Since 1956, the fourth Thursday in November has
been observed by every state.

The Pilgrims' First Harvest Feast

Painting By Jennie Brownescombe - The First ThanksgivingAccording to historical sources, the Pilgrims never held an autumnal Thanksgiving feast. The Pilgrims did have a feast in 1621 near Plymouth, Massachusetts, after their first harvest. This is the feast people often refer to as "The First Thanksgiving." This feast was never repeated, so it can't be called the start of a tradition, nor did the colonists or Pilgrims call it a Thanksgiving Feast. In fact, to these devoutly religious people, a day of thanksgiving was a day of prayer and fasting.

Nevertheless, the 1621 feast has become a model for the Thanksgiving celebration in the United States. More than likely, this first harvest feast was eaten outside, based on the fact that the colonists didn't have a building large enough to accommodate all the people who came. Native Americans definitely were among the invited guests, and it's possible, even probable, that turkey (roasted but not stuffed) and pumpkin in some form found their way to the table. The feast is described in a firsthand account presumably written by a leader of the colony, Edward Winslow, as it appears in Mourt's Relation:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

From this we know that the feast went on for three days, included 90 "Indians," as Native Americans were called then, and had plentiful food. In addition to the venison provided by the Native Americans, there was enough wild fowl to supply the village for a week. The fowl included ducks, geese, turkeys and even swans.

Text ©2000 Thanks-Giving Square Foundation. All Rights Reserved


Why not make this Thanksgiving a day to begin taking better care of yourself and others? You can start by developing an attitude of gratitude towards others and yourself that lasts beyond the fourth Thursday of November.

Attitude. Your perception of and beliefs about events, situations and people -- can increase stress and negatively impact your physical and emotional well-being.

Changing your perceptions about and reactions to stress-causing events and people in your life may, in turn, positively impact your health and well being.

Getting Started. To help you get started, here are some tips and strategies:

1. Make a list of all the people and things in your life for which you are grateful. Consider:

*People and Animals (such as parents, friends, spouses, your pets, wildlife around you, superiors, co-workers, teachers, acquaintances, people who have died, etc.) that you know or have known.

*Possessions (such as gifts, jobs, houses, apartments, income, cars, computers, etc.) that you have or have had.

*Events (such as birthdays, vacations, job accomplishments, educational achievements, parties, reunions, social and charitable involvement, etc.) that you have experienced.

*Opportunities for personal growth and development (such as relationships, sharing, learning from others, helping others, etc.) that you have or have had.

2. Make a list of *why* you are grateful for each of the above and define ways in which you can identify more of those people or create more of those things in your life.

3. Identify ways you can acknowledge and show your gratitude.
For example, send a letter or card to:

*Your parents      *Your grandparents                  *A current or old friend

*A neighbor         *Your boss or supervisor         *A current or former teacher or professor

*An organization, agency or store that has been particularly helpful to you or your family.

4.  Get involved.  Make a difference in your community, the environment, etc.  Contact your local home for the aged, community service center, animal shelter or an organization you believe in and ask what you can do.

5. Increase your awareness of and gratitude for abilities and common events that are often taken for granted. For example:


*The sunrises and sunsets           *The faces of individuals             *The smile of a dog

*The color of flowers and trees    *The architecture of buildings     *The clouds

*Listen to:

*The chirping birds           *To the rustle of leaves

*The purr of a cat
              *The laughter of people

*The sounds of automobiles

*And the tone and pitch of your own voice


*The ground on which you are standing       *The softness of a dog or cat

*The chair in which you are sitting                *The muscles holding your body upright

*The leaves of a tree

*Increase your awareness of your physical abilities such as:

*Turning your head           *Reaching out to shake someone's hand

*Smiling           *Swallowing           *Breathing

Notice how different air and water temperatures feel on your skin.

Focus on the taste and smell of different foods.

Notice the feel of wind, rain and snow.

Thank Yourself, Too. Increasing your ability to thank yourself (or to allow others to show their gratitude toward you) is also important to your health and well being.

To begin developing an attitude of gratitude about yourself, try some of the following:

1. Increase your awareness of when you put yourself down (verbally or in your mind).

When you catch yourself, stop the negative thought and re-frame it as a positive.

2. Assess if you are more critical of yourself than you are of others. If so, analyze why. Re-frame your thoughts so that you view yourself in a more positive, forgiving light.

3. Give yourself credit and thank yourself for all of the nice things you do or have done for others.

4. When someone gives you praise or shows gratitude toward you, learn to say "thank you" and to *feel* the other's appreciation.

People Helping People. This Thanksgiving I would like to thank all the people I have come in contact with, both in my professional and personal life. They have all touched and influenced me and made my life more meaningful.  Sincerely, Vivian Krug-Hotchkiss ~ Emotions Greeting Cards

©2001 Emotions Greeting Cards - VH Productions. All Rights Reserved

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

History: First appearing in 1927, Macy’s signature larger-than-life helium character Balloons will proudly take flight in the skies high above New York in the 77th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27th. Many, many New Yorkers brave the cold, the wind, and the thousands of other New Yorkers to attend the parade and the amazing inflation process the night before.

The Pilgrims and America's First Thanksgiving

 The Pilgrims, who celebrated the first thanksgiving in America, were fleeing religious prosecution in their native England. In 1609 a group of Pilgrims left England for the religious freedom in Holland where they lived and prospered. After a few years their children were speaking Dutch and had become attached to the Dutch way of life. This worried the Pilgrims. They considered the Dutch frivolous and their ideas a threat to their children's education and morality.

 So they decided to leave Holland and travel to the New World. Their trip was financed by a group of English investors, the Merchant Adventurers. It was agreed that the Pilgrims would be given passage and supplies in exchange for their working for their backers for 7 years.

 On Sept. 6, 1620 the Pilgrims set sail for the New World on a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed from Plymouth, England and aboard were 44 Pilgrims, who called themselves the "Saints", and 66 others ,whom the Pilgrims called the "Strangers."

 The long trip was cold and damp and took 65 days. Since there was the danger of fire on the wooden ship, the food had to be eaten cold. Many passengers became sick and one person died by the time land was sighted on November 10th.

 The long trip led to many disagreements between the "Saints" and the "Strangers". After land was sighted a meeting was held and an agreement was worked out, called the Mayflower Compact, which guaranteed equality and unified the two groups. They joined together and named themselves the "Pilgrims."

 Although they had first sighted land off Cape Cod they did not settle until they arrived at Plymouth, which had been named by Captain John Smith in 1614. It was there that the Pilgrims decide to settle. Plymouth offered an excellent harbor. A large brook offered a resource for fish. The Pilgrims biggest concern was attack by the local Native American Indians. But the Patuxets were a peaceful group and did not prove to be a threat.

 The first winter was devastating to the Pilgrims. The cold, snow and sleet was exceptionally heavy, interfering with the workers as they tried to construct their settlement. March brought warmer weather and the health of the Pilgrims improved, but many had died during the long winter. Of the 110 Pilgrims and crew who left England, less that 50 survived the first winter.

 On March 16, 1621 , what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out "Welcome" (in English!).

 His name was Samoset and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast. After staying the night Samoset left the next day. He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto who spoke better English than Samoset. Squanto told the Pilgrims of his voyages across the ocean and his visits to England and Spain. It was in England where he had learned English.

 Squanto's importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help. It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers. He taught them how to plant the Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seeds and fish in each mound. The decaying fish fertilized the corn. He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.

 The harvest in October was very successful and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter. There was corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires.

 The Pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had beaten the odds and it was time to celebrate.

 The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

 The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

 The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate - November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

 The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

 In 1817 New York State had adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

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Wishing You And The People Close To You,
A Very Happy, Safe And Healthy Thanksgiving.

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This Thanksgiving we would like to thank all the people we have come in contact with,
both in our professional and personal lives.
They have all touched and influenced us and made our lives more meaningful.
Sincerely, Vivian Krug Hotchkiss and the staff of Emotions Greeting Cards



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