Thanksgiving for Body, Mind, and Soul

I did something shocking, unthinkable.

I put up our Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.

It’s shameful, I know. The day after Thanksgiving has always been a sacred day, The Day We Deck The Halls And Put Up the Christmas Decorations. But it was out of necessity this year, as we are traveling for Thanksgiving and won’t be home until it’s nearly December. It would be shortening our celebration season, and I just wasn’t having that.

However, although I was eagerly looking forward to getting out the tree and hanging the stockings, something felt off. It was just weird, diving head-first into Christmas without Thanksgiving first. Which made me realize just how much I actually love the holiday itself, not just as a gateway to pass through before we kick off the most wonderful time of year. I fervently believe in the immense power of gratitude, in its ability to lift us out of darkness and give us the strength to walk a better path. Having a holiday that reminds us to reflect and be grateful is a blessing we too often pass over.

I’ll share more of my love of the power of gratitude at the end of this post, but fist, in honor of Thanksgiving I bring you a roundup of tips and inspiration to help you celebrate this oft-neglected holiday in full presence of body and mind.

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Recipe Roundup: It’s soup season!

Something about this time of year makes my soul feel at peace. Or, rather, some things, plural. How I love the blazing fall colors, the nip in the air, the comfort of fuzzy cardigans and infinity scarves, and the desire to turn inward in body and mind and cozy up with a blanket and a book. And of course, how could I forget my professed love of soup season?

It may seem such a silly thing to pledge your undying devotion, but there’s something about a warm bowl of soup that makes everything right with the world. It’s hearty, comforting, warming, full of flavor — any kind of flavor you can dream of. And for me, many soups are inherently full of nostalgia. Especially chicken noodle soup.

I grew up in a family that treated the day after Thanksgiving as its own holiday. It was sacred, and the routine never varied: Up came the Christmas decorations, on went the holiday music, and into the kitchen we went for leftover turkey soup. And in the days before DVDs brought the magic of children’s Christmas specials on demand, we’d turn to the newspaper to check that night’s TV schedule for the first of the season’s holiday showings.

Now, no matter what time of year, whenever I smell turkey or chicken noodle soup I am there in my parents’ home listening to Bing Crosby or Manheim Steamroller, hanging my favorite “lovebirds” ornament on the tree and wrapping the banister in tinsel, waiting for the homemade noodles and creamy broth of the evening’s turkey soup.

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