Food for Thought

Using Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reflect.

By Wilson Wong

Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, and now that the turkey has been made into leftovers and sent back with family to their respective homes, we have time to think about its importance. Though the basic structure of the holiday is the same (based upon a family dinner on the third Thursday in November), it may differ from family to family based upon their own personal traditions. For example, the dressing for the turkey – cornbread vs. bread dressing, dressing vs. stuffing, sweet potato pie vs. pumpkin pie, etc. 

Regardless of how adventurous and exploratory our culinary taste might be, we may be quite adamant in what we want for our Thanksgiving meal, from main course to the side dishes. This insistence may come from emotional childhood imprints to simple guilty pleasures that come once a year. Have you ever taken the time to think beyond the table dressings and recipe cards on Thanksgiving? Beyond, even, the importance of giving thanks and having family around you?

Holidays like these provide us with opportunities to really delve into what we believe, who we are as people, and how those things manifest in our traditions. We can use these moments as prompts for deeper thinking, both at home and at work. Whether you are re-living the fun of the weekend or looking for ways to connect with coworkers and employees on a deeper level, here are a few questions to deepen your exploration of the holiday:

  1. What foods are traditional at your Thanksgiving table?  What made them traditional dishes? 
  2. How difficult would it be to replace your Thanksgiving staples with something else, and why do you think that is? 
  3. Could these traditional dishes be a metaphor for personal or organizational core values? 

Holidays like Thanksgiving are a great reminder to be thankful for the bounty around us, and questions like these can really help us push beyond the classic theme of thankfulness. What did reflecting on your holiday help you discover about yourself and your values? Let us know in the comments below.

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