Kelli's Kibbitz

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Kelli’s Kibbitz. Are you a new reader? Did you come across this blog on the New York Times best seller list (or whatever the blog equivalent is of that!)? I am confident that my readership has been growing exponentially. Instead of five readers, I’m pretty sure I’m up to ten. Now that’s something. 😉

All kidding aside, I’m so glad people are starting to read this and hopefully are walking away with some fun upcoming activities and events to add to their calendar, a new recipe or two, and maybe even with the ability to view family holidays and traditions through a different and refreshing lens.

Well, it’s finally here. Fall. Real Fall.

Mother Nature has kind of been playing tricks on us this past month or so, and frankly, it’s been really annoying for this Fall and cold weather loving gal. October did bring us cooler temps. I would love looking at the weather app on my phone and seeing 50’s, 50’s, and more 50’s. And then she’d sneak in a day in the 70’s every now and again. Really? Does it need to be 78 degrees in mid October?! Now I know I’m probably not in the majority here, but come on, Summer weather belongs in just that, the summer! Don’t even get me started with the leaves this season. Could they take any longer to fully change?? Beat it, global warming.

Don’t even get me started with the leaves this season.

Could they take any longer to fully change?? Beat it, global warming. This has definitely been your less than normal fall. Alas, the cold crisp air is here- to stay! After much anticipation, the leaves finally turned their brilliant, deep hues of orange, red, yellow, and even purple. Even though most have fallen at this point, going on walks has truly been a delight for the senses. The crunching of the leaves underfoot, the stunning foliage, and the crisp, fragrant aroma of the cool Autumn air.

It’s the Fall trifecta. I especially love the smell of the many fire pits burning in the neighborhood while going on evening walks with the dogs. Ahhh, Fall is the best.

There are many reasons why I have such an affinity for this season, but perhaps the thing I like best is Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. I love the traditions, the food, the warmth of being with my loved ones, and the promise of the holiday season that unfolds shortly after (and boy is Chanukah shortly after, this year!).

I also loved learning about the holiday when I was little.

The story of the Pilgrims coming over to America on the Mayflower and landing at Plymouth Rock. We learned how they befriended the Native Americans who taught them about survival in the new land. I always enjoyed hearing the story of the first Thanksgiving that was had with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. It must have been such a wonderful and meaningful feast between these friends. It all sounded so peaceful and benign, what led up to the first Thanksgiving and the events surrounding that time period.

Well nowadays, many of us are better educated on what REALLY went down. The Pilgrims and Native Americans gathering together in harmony for the famous feast, the turkey, the friendships…let’s just say they’re not entirely accurate depictions of what happened. I don’t remember ever learning in school about the English settlers killing the Indigenous people and basically stealing their land. I certainly never was taught by any teacher that the beloved Squanto was actually captured by the English and sold into slavery. Oy.

With the many misconceptions surrounding the Thanksgiving story, it is easy to teach our children about it in an outdated way. We should try to reframe how we approach the story and what we instill in these young minds. Of course being thankful is a central theme to this holiday and there are so many ways to incorporate this idea into our teachings.

  • Spend time with your children discussing what it means to be thankful and gracious.
  • Make cards or pictures for loved ones and teachers expressing thankfulness.
  • Do a mitzvah as a family. You can donate Thanksgiving dinners to nearby Veteran facilities. You can start brainstorming ways to help local families in need over Chanukah and Christmas.

There are so many beautiful ways to infuse the theme of thankfulness into our family’s lives. 

If you love history and want to educate your children about the actual Pilgrims and how they made their way in the new land, choose a different lens in which to view the story. Focus on how two very different communities and cultures worked together to coexist (at least in the beginning they did!). There are many valuable lessons to be extracted from that piece of history. 

At the end of the day, the essence of Thanksgiving is family. Whether you gather with just the kids and the grandparents or with the whole mispacha, it’s about a special day (and long weekend!) devoted to being with those you love. I wish you all a Thanksgiving filled with a cozy morning of parade watching in your PJs (of course followed by the dog show), a delectable meal of your family favorites that you’ll inevitably consume way too much of, a pumpkin martini or two, some family games, and just pure love and contentment. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kelli 🙂