Benefits of celebrating Thanksgiving with children

Thanksgiving Day is a special occasion to express our gratitude to those who contribute to improve our lives. As is tradition, with the arrival of the fourth Thursday of November, Casvi International American School has celebrated this holiday in which all the students have participated.

We show you the benefits of this holiday for children and teenagers.

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is mainly an American tradition with a long history. It is very common that, on this special day, families in the United States gather around a banquet to give thanks for everything received during the year.

Its origin date back to 1620, when the English colonists disembarked from the Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts. After a harsh winter of cold and hunger, the native Wampanoag Indians taught the settlers how to farm and hunt on the land. Months later, in the fall, the harvest was a success. In gratitude for their help, the English invited the Indians to a big dinner to share the food they had gathered. This was the origin of the “harvest feast” that would eventually become the Thanksgiving feast we know today.

How is Thanksgiving celebrated in different parts of the world?

Today, millions of people around the world celebrate this day. Such festivities have been held since ancient times to celebrate a good harvest and a productive year.

In Spain it is not very common to celebrate this day, but just as other American traditions such as Halloween have been adopted over time, more and more families and schools are deciding to give importance to the Thanksgiving holiday and celebrate it.

In the United States and Canada, it is typical for families to get together to prepare a big dinner consisting of a turkey with a particular cornbread and sage stuffing, accompanied by sauces or sweet jellies and vegetables, as well as nuts and dried fruits. On this page, you can find eleven delicious and typical Thanksgiving recipes from the main dish (the turkey) to its stuffing, the typical sauces, vegetable side dishes, tender rolls and as a finishing touch, a delicious pie.

Unlike the United States, in Canada, they celebrate this tradition on the second Monday of October because their crops are harvested much earlier.

Other countries such as India, China, Malaysia and Korea also celebrate in their own way the harvesting of their crops. However, there is one thing that characterizes all these festivities equally: the atmosphere of gratitude, peace and love for the family.

Thanksgiving Parade

In addition to enjoy a delicious meal with the family, there are other new traditions that have been incorporated for this day in recent years, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This parade includes floats, marching bands, cheerleaders and famous giant balloons of different characters.

This event attracts many visitors to New York City each year, although it can also be seen on television. It starts at 9:00 a.m. (New York time), but because it is so popular, lines start forming along the route as early as 6:00 a.m. 

Black Friday: Friday after Thanksgiving

Black Friday is another of the new traditions that have been established in recent years in Spain, related to Thanksgiving. Stores take the opportunity to offer big discounts, always the day after Thanksgiving.

Benefits of celebrating Thanksgiving with children

Encouraging gratitude in children not only contributes to their happiness, but also helps them to be more optimistic and more successful at school, with their family and with themselves.

On one hand, this day is an opportunity to foster gratitude and friendship in the family, to strengthen bonds and to realize what we have. Children tend to learn from what they observe and hear from adults, so it is essential that they hear positive things and expressions of gratitude from their immediate environment. In this way, they are aware of everything they have, even the little things or what they take for granted. ¡

On the other hand, it is not only important to give thanks on such a special day, but also to give thanks all year round. Today, thanks to the Internet and new technologies, connecting with our loved ones is easier than ever. Taking advantage of any moment to write and greet the people around us is another way to give thanks and express our appreciation to them.

Some of the lessons of Thanksgiving for children are:

Gratitude as an essential value. This virtue teaches children to be generous and to appreciate everything they have (both material and immaterial).

Eating meals together has advantages. Enjoying company during meals is a plus that sometimes we do not count on due to the frenetic pace rhythm of everyday life.

– The things that we consider the simplest are the ones that, in the end, have the most value. A hug, a kiss or an “I love you” are examples of this.

– Patience as a value. An example is Black Friday, celebrated just the day after Thanksgiving. Many families wait until this date to shop and save, so patience is also rewarded.

– Gratitude goes hand in hand with other values, such as humility, friendship, generosity and empathy.

How we celebrate Thanksgiving at Casvi International American School

At Casvi International American School, we had a very special day celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24th. To express our gratitude, we collaborated with Banco de Alimentos for another year, encouraging students and their families to donate non-perishable food items.

Middle School & High School Student Council members along with CAS students from the Diploma Program have been collecting food donations from November 21 to 24. In addition, an inter-class competition was organized in which the classroom with the students who brought in the most food was the winner.

This year, 978 kg of food have been donated. Congratulations! Thanks to every food collected, the Banco de Alimentos of Madrid will distribute the food to those who need it most.

On this day, students have also done special activities such as baking pies, writing on a mural what they are thankful for and enjoying a special American-style Thanksgiving meal.  

Other Thanksgiving  activities

Beyond giving thanks and enjoying a good meal as a family, there are many other activities you can take advantage of on this day, such as crafts, family games or reading stories and fables. Fables are a good way to teach children the most important moral values.

One of the activities that has been performed at Casvi International American School for this day is to make the figure of a turkey with paper cut-outs. There are many ways to do this. One of them is to cut out feather by feather on cardboard and write a thank you on each one. Also, children can draw the outline of their hand on a piece of paper and cut it out. Then, they can decorate the thumb to be the turkey’s head and the other fingers to be the turkey’s feathers (not forgetting to write “thank you” on each feather).

Another activity to do with the family can be to make a gratitude jar. A simple and useful craft that consists of decorating the outside of a jar that includes the word “THANK YOU”. The children can have fun decorating the jar by gluing paper, cardboard or phrases. When iteh decoration is ready, they can put phrases of everything they are thankful for in the jar. If they are very little, just encourage them to write words like “mommy”, “my doggy”, “my friends”…. It can also serve as a wish jar. Through educational and fun tools like this, the value of gratitude is encouraged in children.

Any activity that includes values of gratitude is valid for this day. After all, it is about finding a way to express and work on gratitude, companionship, generosity or friendship in a fun way. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about.

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