What is the Secret to a Great Thanksgiving?

Is it Grandma’s stuffing recipe? Or is it the size of your turkey? Neither. The real secret to a great Thanksgiving is actually taking the time to give thanks.

So maybe you don’t own a sleek European sports car…well neither do I. Maybe you don’t have a mansion…well neither do I. Remember it’s about giving thanks. It’s not about ruing over what you don’t have or what you’d like.

I have a loving wife, two adorable cats, a nice warm roof over my head, cars, and plenty of food. I shouldn’t complain.


Photo: The TURKEY! by Cheryl used under CC License

Here’s how I came to my revelation.

My wife can’t cook. Thanksgiving Day is the only day that she’ll rattle a few pots and pans. So my Thanksgiving Day dinner will be a boneless turkey breast, a box of stove top stuffing, a jar of turkey gravy, a box of instant mash potatoes, a can of cranberry sauce, and that green bean casserole.

When I was growing up, everything was made from scratch. My mom used to buy a bag of cranberries and some plain gelatin and would make her own cranberry sauce. The same painstaking effort was put into every item on the table. She used to cook and break up some country sausage and bread for the stuffing. I think you’re getting the idea.

Yet, I’m thankful for what I have, and for the loving wife that I get to spend the day with.

Also, I don’t know about Protestant denominations, but I do know, that my Catholic parish will celebrate Mass for Thanksgiving Day, and I’ll be there. It is not a standard daily Mass either. The Mass for that day is specifically titled for Thanksgiving Day. That’s one way of giving thanks.

Another secret to a great Thanksgiving Day is to do something for others.

We’ll be feeding about 10 airmen from Mtn. Home AFB. They’re alone, no family nearby and therefore, no place to go to celebrate the day.

So how do you plan on giving thanks?

10 thoughts on “What is the Secret to a Great Thanksgiving?

  1. Thanks for posting this. I feel like a lot more people are not just focusing on the food but the Black Friday shopping that now starts on Thanksgiving day.

    Yeah, the food’s great. Yeah, a new tablet at half price is great (not for me . . . I hate Black Friday). But there are bigger things we should be giving thanks to.


  2. lol re: “wife can’t cook.”

    My sister Jaye didn’t cook either – her husband took care of those little details, for the most part. However, the few exceptions in my sister’s cooking life were Christmas cookies and the winter holiday meals (the same menu for Thanksgiving & Christmas – but pretty darned impressive for a diabetic who didn’t otherwise cook much AT ALL.)

    I try to remember to be thankful I had her in my life at all, but fight sadness that she is no longer here to call me in the middle of her task for one of our mother’s recipes she’s misplaced, or to gleefully report on the Christmas cookies in the oven (always promising to send me some – which her boys always devoured before she could make good on those promises)

    Re: Black Friday – this was the FIRST year in my Boomer life I participated – spending w-a-y too much time with far too much agita looking to save a bit of moolah replacing the lot of my severely worn flannel pajamas and Turkish terry robes (probably my last time too!) Happy Holidays

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”


    • Hi Madelyn. I have a sister who can’t cook either. We tease her a lot about it. She knows it’s true and takes it as a good natured ribbing.
      This Christmas will be a lean one on account of the move and the second house.
      My wife and I spent most Black Friday snuggled on the couch. 🙂


      • My FAVORITE and most lavish Christmas ever was spent with a soul mate during my undergrad days, when we were both poorer than church mice.

        Between the two of us, once we purchased the fixin’s for our Christmas feast (our stuffed Cornish hens were finer than any fancy turkey, crown roast, or standing rib I have had since), we scraped together enough money for ONE strand of Christmas lights, wrapping paper, tape, cheap ribbon and on-sale (or free) boxes.

        We liberated some spray-glue from the ad agency I was temping for to affix tin foil on the walls surrounding our lopsided tree to magnify our strand’s effect – which turned out to be hilarious when we had to unwrap the tree on Christmas morning and scrub the glue from the walls in days following. (Who knew that spray glue, tin foil and walls would be SUCH an unfortunate combo?)

        We agreed that we would indicate in some manner what WOULD be in each box we purchased, collected or repurposed if money were no object.

        On Christmas morning we unwrapped some of the most creatively wrapped presents in my entire life —
        For HOURS — and I have *never* felt so appreciated, seen and understood.

        He gave me everything ANY girl’s heart could EVER wish for: jewels, furs, keys to my dream car, silver in the pattern I wanted and never understood how he knew (picture cut out of some magazine, and an IOU for place-settings for TWELVE!) – etc.

        My soul mate is no longer on this side of heaven, but I still have – and will always keep – those magazine cut-outs and IOUs he wrapped in every box. (btw- the IOUs were his little twist, not originally part of the concept.)

        He was equally pleased with all of his gifts from me – except ONE.

        Not to sound like Gift of the Magi or anything, but he had lost his gloves and it was bitterly cold that Christmas — so I gave up something else to be able to buy him an inexpensive pair.

        Even though he sorely needed them, he was FURIOUS when he unwrapped his last gift from me — only because he had nothing “real” to give me in return (believe me, we “balanced” it out ::evil grin::)

        I highly suggest taking a similar approach to your current house-poor situation (minus the gloves of course). Maybe you could even “furnish” that second house together, box by box.

        Merry Christmas!



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