I used to love Thanksgiving. Before becoming a mom, I worked in retail which meant that I always had to work the day after Thanksgiving. It became apparent one year that if I wanted a Thanksgiving with my family they would have to travel to where I was living.
I started hosting Thanksgivings and it was great. I was in my mid-20’s and would invite anyone who didn’t have a place to go.
Now that I have a family of my own, I’ve found Thanksgiving to be a hollow holiday. I spend two days cooking, 30 minutes eating, and 2 hours cleaning.
Two years ago we started celebrating Shabbat on Friday night. The day after Thanksgiving my kids got so excited to set the table, sing blessings, and eat challah. It really made me wonder why I was spending so much energy on Thanksgiving.
I’ve started to scale back my Thanksgiving and I’m working on adding some meaning to the day. Below is a printable for Jewish blessings before and after the meal.
Before the meal we bless the meal and thank God for the fact that we are all able to be together. We say our grace after the meal. The Birkat Hamazon thanks God for creating enough food for all (though it’s our job to make sure it gets to everyone. This sheet includes the Reform (short) Birkat Hamazon.