In kindergarten, I remember tracing my hands in order to turn them into colorful construction paper turkeys, the dreaded Thanksgiving pageant when everyone got to be something, and reading about Pilgrims during November at school.

In kindergarten, I remember tracing my hands in order to turn them into colorful construction paper turkeys, the dreaded Thanksgiving pageant when everyone got to be something, and reading about Pilgrims during November at school.

My daughter also made turkey hands, but the history of thanksgiving as I learned it was different in my daughter’s stories. As is the case with the myth of history, I’m sure that there is an inkling of truth in both versions. I’m also quite sure that someday, my future grandchildren will have different versions than mine or their mothers.

I bet it’s safe to say that those early settlers were thankful. They were thankful for surviving the journey here, for having enough food to make it through the harsh winters and, more than anything, for escaping the persecution that had chased them from their homelands.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It has been ingrained into the fabric of our cultural identity and the traditions started long before elementary school. But, far too often the true meaning gets shoved into a few days between dressing up in costumes to get candy and Christmas, which starts sooner and sooner each year with advertising.

The concept and meaning behind Thanksgiving is simple: to give thanks for what life has given us and the blessings bestowed upon us – family, friends, and general health to name a few. This holiday has given us so much: family time without the need of exchanging gifts. Savor it. Embrace it. Stop longer than a minute to remember the importance of this holiday and all that we have to be thankful for: Happy Thanksgiving.