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The Thanksgiving I'm Most Thankful For Contest

CONGRATULATION TO OUR WINNER YESSENIA FROM CLERMONT, FL. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR GREAT COMMENTS!

Wow! What an overwhelming response! We were moved (moved to tears in some cases) by your heartfelt stories. Congratulations to Yessenia T. from Florida who was randomly selected to win a $50 gift card. There certainly is so much to be thankful for and we hope that everyone had a memorable Thanksgiving. Several years ago, I set myself the November challenge of posting on my Facebook page one thing I was thankful for every single day of the month. It surprised me how simply focusing on gratitude shifted my perspective and lightened my mood. And sharing that gratitude was uplifting to my friends and family, too! In honor of thankfulness, we’re holding a contest. For a chance to win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card, all you have to do is respond in the comments section below by November 24 (which just so happens to be Thanksgiving!) with a few sentences describing “The Thanksgiving I’m Most Thankful For.”

The winner will be chosen at random so you don’t have to be an English major, just willing to share your story of gratitude with the rest of us. To inspire your efforts, here are a couple of Thanksgiving tales from our very own Team Members:

L’aura: "Nearly two decades ago, a bunch of Team Members (most of us without local family) decided to celebrate Thanksgiving at someone's house in Palo Alto. Because of the holiday, the drive down from North Bay on a Thursday was unnaturally quiet and peaceful. I entered a house full of people and food, including eight different kinds of pie and the first turducken I had ever seen. After dinner we went for a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather. Back at the house, a co-worker got out his guitar and we lounged around the living room listening to music and talking till the sun went down.

I'm thankful for the memory of such a peaceful day spent with like-minded souls in a beautiful part of our country — and that I work with such friendly people who welcome all like family."

Liz: "Years ago two friends and I had just moved to Galveston, Texas, where we rented a beach house. Thanksgiving was approaching, so we each invited one new co-worker for dinner along with their partners. The plan was seven of us for dinner. Just before our guests were due to arrive I went to the phone booth across the street to call home. A dog followed me and on the way back I met a man without dinner plans, so I brought him and the dog with me. Eight for dinner. Moments later a car filled with six people stopped to ask directions. I didn't know where they were headed but asked if they wanted dinner, and if so to come on in.

They did. Fourteen. One roommate brought two more people he met on his walk on the beach, and the dog invited a cat. We had a lovely celebration with a patchwork of new faces.  Isn't that what Thanksgiving was originally about?  Communion with people who are strangers. It will live in my memory as the most unique and wonderful Thanksgiving ever." Who and what do you remember from the Thanksgiving you are most thankful for?

Tell us in a few short sentences in the comments section below by November 24 for a chance to win a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card.

If you’re still in the sharing mood, stop by our Holidays hub and share your holiday snapshots with the Whole Food Market community and show us how you celebrate. While you’re there make sure to check out our festive recipes, cooking tips and entertaining guides.

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1389 comments

Comments

Reba says …

Three years ago, we drove from the Bay Area to Los Angeles with our daughter to spend Thanksgiving and the weekend with our son, who had recently begun working there. On Thanksgiving Day, my daughter experienced repetitive seizures, and we rushed her to the emergency room of a local hospital. Although we had made Thanksgiving dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant for that evening, we had to cancel, and ended up at the hospital for several hours, with our daughter finally being released close to 11:00 p.m. We were headed back to our hotel, stressed and exhausted, when we spotted a small diner still open and decided to stop in to have something to eat. We were thrilled to discover that the diner had a special Thanksgiving menu, and we were able to enjoy turkey and all the fixings after all. In addition to the satisfaction of having full tummies, and despite our initial plans having gone by the wayside, I realized that this was the best Thanksgiving I'd ever had - I was grateful to the hospital staff who had been incredibly kind, and for the diner staff who, even at this late hour, were upbeat and solicitious; and I was thankful our daughter was fine, and our family was all together. I will never forget that experience.

Laura says …

My mom's birthday always falls around Thanksgiving and it gives me a chance to be thankful for all the things she has done for me and the time we have been able to spend together.

lisa brown says …

I am thankful for being able to share a few days with my brother afrer not seeing him almost all my life

Carrie Cushman says …

I am thankful for the air that I breath, the food on my table, a loving husband, a loving family, having a job that I love, a car that I love, a new puppy that I adore, being blessed with friends......this Thanksgiving makes me recognize how lucky I REALLY AM!!! Dream it...think it...BELIEVE IT!!!

matt says …

Several years ago we had an annual Thanksgiving tradition. A friend of mine from work would invite coworkers and friends that had no family here or no where to go. She would cook 2 turkeys, vegetarian lasagna, numerous sides, vegetables and dessert. She would only ask for a small donation for the food cost and to bring what we wanted to drink. We laughed, drank, ate and always had her mom say a prayer. We did this for many years even when we no longer worked together. I will always cherish those times forever...

Brenda says …

This is a very special Thanksgiving for me :) After going through a divorce - and all that could mean - I have ALL MY CHIDLREN and Grandchildren here together for this wonderful HOLIDAY! I am SO THANKFUL AND SO BLESSED!

Sonja Galyon-Kamonika says …

I am thankful that my company Noylag Chauffeured Services, DBA 4A Transportation Services is registered in the state of New Jersey and it is a socially responsible company. I am also thankful that my small group of business owners is making a contribution to a local shelter. I am grateful to wake up one more day and be kind to someone.

catherine graham says …

It may seem odd, but the best Thanksgiving was spent alone. I had just gotten a new job, so I could not take time off to visit relatives. My sister called me from Nevada. She had recently moved there with her boyfriend. They were in a bit of a bind cash-wise, and asked to borrow $250.00. I asked her what it was for and she told me rent. I sent her $500.00 telling her that if she was short rent, then she would need money for utilities and such. I'm the older sister, so I guess she expected a sermon instead of understanding. I told her that she needed to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner and not to worry about anything for a while. She was tremendously thankful. In August of the next year my sister died of breast cancer. I had given her the last Thanksgiving of her life. For that I was and am extremely grateful.

Kelsey says …

My most memorable and thankful Thanksgiving was when my parents and us four kids escaped the Michigan cold and drove down to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a holiday get-away. My siblings and I loved escaping school for a couple days so we could get a whole week off; my dad enjoyed it when the family piled into the camper and he could whisk us off into the great unknown. I think my mom especially loved building family memories. Well, since this was our first time missing out on the extended family gatherings and the camper kitchen was more like a mini-fridge and a single gas burner, we ended up creating a non-traditional meal. As a family, we giggled and ate our macaroni and cheese- with hotdogs, of course. The idea of having noodles and franks on a glorified turkey day was outrageous and challenged our very concept of tradition. Since then we have created our own traditions for the holidays, like going to theme parks and riding on coasters with no wait time. As a newlywed this year, I am excited to share with my husband in the great secret: tradition is not what you do, exactly, it's seeking to connect with others and have a bond based on the memories created. Tomorrow, I'll be teaching him how to make fresh pasta for a mushroom and fontina ravioli dish- no hotdogs this time, though.

Diane Var says …

I am not close with my extended family and am estranged from my own family. I am thankful for my husband and daughter. If I didn't have them, I don't know where I'd be today.

Shiloh K says …

I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, because it's my first with our daughter who was born to us after 12 years together. These are the times we will remember most!

Becca says …

Most memorable for me was the time it snowed at my aunt's house for Thanksgiving. It was already lovely sharing the day at my dear auntie's house, and the snow made it even more special.

Eva says …

I am most thankful for this coming thanksgiving. My mother is in remission from both Leukemia and Breast Cancer. She gets to spend this Thanksgiving with her grandson (my almost one-year old son) for the first time this year. We are so blessed to have her in our lives and are thankful each day that she is still here.

Clara says …

I am thankful for every day that I am alive and well, because every day is a gift. Every day is Thanksgiving. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.” ― Alice Morse Earle

Michelle says …

In a new place for graduate school and no time or money to travel home for Thanksgiving, last year a friend from my hometown who's mother had moved to the same city I was in invited me to her thanksgiving. It was small event ending in a Christmas movie and I was grateful to have an adopted Thanksgiving family and not alone in my studio apartment! The very next day I also had the opportunity to attend another family Thanksgiving, all vegan, that was very large and welcoming. I can only hope for a repeat this year!

Katherine says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most thankful for was my first married Thanksgiving, spent in the mountains of rural Uganda. My husband and I had been living on the hospital grounds for nearly two months, and invited all our friends, both expats and Ugandans, to attend. An eccentric, elderly American woman helped us prepare our first turkey and unearthed an ancient can of cranberry sauce; a Ugandan family brought goat soup; an Irish doctor made his "famous" tuna fish casserole. It may not have been the most sophisticated culinary experience of our lives, but I'm certain it will always be one of our most memorable for the warmth of a diverse community coming together to share a meal and give thanks.

Shawn Z. says …

I'm thankful that I have a great family, friends, boyfriend, and dog. My family is always there for me and supports me in everything that I do. My friends bring the fun into my life. My boyfriend does everything that my family and friends do...and did I mention he runs marathons with me? And my dog, Socks, because she shows what unconditional love is. There a lot of things in life to be thankful for, but these are the aspects I thank God most for every single day.

Brizia Salazar says …

This year i give thanks to my family for whom without i wouldn't be in college. I am thankful for my sister who is paying tuition. Thankful for my mother and father who work hard to provide for us. I am most thankful that my grandfather is no longer sick and he is the main reason im studying to be a chef to provide my family with healthy delicious food. I am also thankful for my dog who protects us everywhere we go :] I am also thankful for the roof over our heads. Im just thankful to be here alble to

Lorine says …

Everyday I am most thankful for three things: My husband, health, and my dogs. I could lose my job or my house but still be the happiest person in the world because I have those things in my life.

Julie @BananasForBourbon says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most thankful for is last year's. It was at my house and both sides of my immediate family was there (minus my brother in-law). I made the whole dinner, pretty much. I put my foodie spin on all the usual dishes and I was really happy with how it turned out. It was a cooking milestone for me, to be sure.

Amy Gross says …

Every year since I was a kid we have had the traditional jello mold, (the kind with three layers and the cherries in the middle). It is something that was passed down from my grandmother. The funny things is no one really ever eats it but it is always on the table year after year, sort of as a tribute to my grandmother. (my father has the occasional piece). One year my mother and I prepared the mold and then put it in the spare refrigderator to jell. Thanksgiving Dinner was great and the next month when I went back for Christmas, we discovered the jello mold still in the spare fridge. We had forgotten to put it out on Thanksgiving! We cracked up! It makes me think about tradition and family and how important those things are. So important that we continue to make the jello mold every year and the memory of my grandmother stays with us.

Melanie Matta says …

I am thankful for my first semester off at college (Illinois State University) and all of the amazing people that I have met. I am thankful to have found a service fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega) that dedicates much time and energy to helping the fraternity, college, community, and nation!

kelly says …

The Thanksgiving I’m Most Thankful For is my first Thanksgiving in LA after graduating college and leaving home. My parents and brothers drove 500 miles to come and see me and have Thanksgiving in my tiny apartment. My apartment happened to walking ditance to the Whole Foods on National/Barrington, so we bought one of the dinner packages and had a feast.

Mark Duvall says …

I am thankful for family, friends,a job and Whole Foods!!!!

sam says …

Most thankful for my family! They are always there for me

andrew W says …

I am thankful for the chance I had last year to volunteer in a shelter and share Thanksgiving with those in need. Talking with those there was both heartbreaking and uplifting and I treasured hearing their stories and finding a bit of "family" while sharing that time with them. I will also be so thankful to share this year with my own family.

Alicia Rule says …

Three Thanksgivings ago I had my first brand new perfect baby boy. I have been continually thankful for him every day since.

Bridget says …

Our family has come from strong roots. We did not ever feel the pain of going without...until we started a business, which put life in perspective. Life hasn't been easy for my children, but especially my husband, who recognizes daily what he is putting his family through. Some days, we wonder if it will all work out, where our mortgage payment will come from, how the kids won't feel the sting so badly. Yet, each day we are grateful for the bounties we are provided. This Thanksgiving, our family is thankful for the gift of learning the act of humbleness, of realizing what life is like without, and resurrecting a sense of paying it forward to those who may even be in more need than we have been. This experience has opened our hearts to those less fortunate, which means something totally different than it did when we had everything we needed. Today, I pray that those who "have" will see those who don't as an opportunity to be a new person. I am so thankful for who my family is now, and who we have learned to be through our experience.

Nikki Lee says …

I am thankful for everyday that I can still strive to be a better person. I am thankful that I have a new opportunity everyday to make my children the best and most productive human beings they can be. Everyday is for Thanksgiving!

Alice Losasso says …

Recently my beloved dog, Hannah, a Shiba Inu, died of cancer. I was devastated, as I didn't know she was sick and she was not very old. At first I didn't think I'd get another dog, but I saw a picture of another Shiba on the Petfinder rescue site and decided to take a chance. We adopted him sight unseen from Arkansas and picked him up in Conneticut where he arrived with many other dogs on a rescue transport. My husband and I fell in love with the little guy and he has brought so much joy into our lives. Though he will never replace Hannah, he has helped to heal the hurt.

Beth Goren says …

It was in Taos, New Mexico. I arrived there in August, 1987 for the Harmonic Convergence. In late September, there was the Feast Day for San Genaro, and the day before, a native woman led a circle dance at the Martinez Hacienda. I took her hand and danced in the circle. oddly,it was just the two of us. When the dancing ended, we naturally talked, and Juanita invited me up to her mom's adobe rooftop at Taos Pueblo the next day for the Feast and to view the dances from above. On Feast Day, I shyly climbed the ladder up to the small dwelling of Grandma Marcus. When I said who invited me, I was welcomed in for a holiday feast at a long table where family and guests took turns sitting down. That was the start of an eight year friendship with Grandma Marcus. Two years before she passed away, I was invited to her daughter Sally's home at the rear of the pueblo. I entered the house and allowed my eyes to adjust to the deep quiet mingled with children's laughter. I brought my dishes of brown rice and cilantro peas, which were happily received and added to the table. Before we ate, Sally's husband Mike led the prayers in Tewa. I only understood the spirit, not the words. After Mike's blessing, each of about 12 family members shared their thanks. When my turn came, I found tears streaming down my face in deep thanksgiving for this family of friends who accepted me into their hearts and lives so readily. And it all began with a circle dance.

Kelly says …

I am most thankful for two things: that my mother, who died of leukemia almost 2 years ago, is still with me in spirit, and my father, who has heart failure is still with us in this world. God Bless them both.

Andrea says …

I am most thankful for my family and friends. It might be a common answer,but my life would be empty without them!

Steph says …

One thanksgiving my boyfriend had to work and would not be home for thanksgiving, which we normally spent with his family who lived nearby me. At the last minute, I called up my sister and we drove 500+ miles on the Wed evening before Thanksgiving to San Diego to spend the day with our oldest sister and brother in law. Thanksgiving turned out to be wonderful, with a fun 5K run in the rain, great food and friends, and most importantly, knowing that I can always count on my sisters to bail me out of any unpleasant situation. I know many people who do not get along with their sisters, but mine are truly my best friends in the world!

Helene Petersen says …

I'm thankful to have my Son share Thanksgiving with me since he has Leukemia and and I always wanted to help others who are homeless and cannot afford to buy the food to prepare a Thanksgiving Dinner. If I win the $50.00 Gift Card I will donate the gift card to a family that cannot afford to buy food. If they do not have a kitchen to cook I will buy the food and prepare the dinner for them. The family I have in mind is a couple in their 90's whose home burned down this year and the husband just got out of the hospital where he has been recovering from burns and other serious issues since August 24, 2011. Helene

saminder gumer says …

the thanksgiving i am most thankful for was the last year when i got to go visit my wife's family and we got to sit down with 4 generations of family from her great grandmother to her nephew. it was so touching because it was the last time that they would be together because her great grandmother passed away soon after that. i got to meet all of the family and talk to everyone there and got to know them closely. there were so many stories that were shared and i learned so much.

Christine says …

My Thanksgiving following hospitalization with a traumatic illness stands out in my memory just now. I'd survived and come through challenges bigger than any I'd ever imagined were possible. People had seen me through and helped with things that left me in awe, and the memories still prompt me to shake my head unable to take in the depth of kindness and generosity I was shown. It made that Thanksgiving one of note... and has contributed to every one since, too... while I remain as grateful as ever for those that came before, too; accumulations of all other sorts of thoughtful gestures that were assembled in myriad ways to create beautiful celebrations.

Ryan says …

I am thankful to be spending thanksgiving with my wife of two years in our own home this year. We did not have a home last year and this year I have been very sick but she has done a great job being by my side and now I am starting to recover. We are vegetarians so she will be making a vegetarian/vegan thanksgiving feast. She cooks amazing! Tom Turkey thanks us for keeping him alive!

sarah says …

I'm very thankful for this thanksgiving.. I am miles and miles away from my family for the first time in years. Instead of dwelling on this I have my boyfriends gracious family taking me in with open arms. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Fernanda says …

I'm thankfull for all animals. They bring peace, harmony, beauty, joy to our lives. I want to say a special thank you for my beloved pets my 2 beautiful cats: Melanie & Gia and my 2 fish tanks full of platties, chinese algae eater and bettas. And my backyard birds & squirrels. Animals make my life more colorful and happy! Please don't eat any meat! Love vegetables, legumes, grains & fruits!

Debbie says …

The first Thanksgiving I spent as a wife was also the first I spent away from home. I followed my husband to Germany where we were stationed. We had 7 single soldiers over for dinner, which was also the first one I ever prepared. The afternoon before, we got a phone call letting us know that our household goods would be delivered...on Thanksgiving. The soldiers unpacked our home while I cooked dinner. It was a great day, and we made lifelong friends from then.

Liz says …

I'm most thankful that my family is in good health.

Juanita Lawson says …

My husband and I are very thankful for our twin boys. I went into labor 11 years ago this Thanksgiving with our twins. They were 12 weeks early. They weighed 2lbs 5oz. Today our boys are tall and healthy. We are blessed.

Laura Schofield says …

I'm thankful for this year's thanksgiving dinner, though it hasn't happened yet. I'm armed with a whole new knowledge of what I'm putting on my family's plates. It will be local, organic, sustainable!

John Billiris says …

The Thanksgivings I’m Most Thankful For were from my childhood, when my mother made enormous meals, and everybody came for the day. It was a day-long party.

Joann says …

I am thankful that I have been blessed with a job, a home, and my family and friends. Each year presents more memories, some that are more upbeat than others though each with a gratefulness that more good will come. The best Thanksgiving is yet to come...one in which there are no starving children in this world. And it cannot come soon enough.

Lakisha Jestice says …

This Thanksgiving I am just thankful that all of my family will be with me.

CindeeJackson says …

So Grateful with thankfullness this year beacause my favorite first cousin D.J. Army soldier came home in time for a wonderful holiday with his family after serving his 5th tour of duty in Afgan. I am now a 5 year breast cancer survior & so thankful for the health of our miracle preemie baby twins born to my daughter. Little Abby born 1.01oz & baby Emma 1.3 oz. What a miracle in these preemie NIC units. Baby Abby & Emma are a thriving 14lbs this year & I am the happiest grannie in the world! I say with in appreciation for all wonderful people who have worked so hard to help these lives. I am most thankful for the living healthy & whole lives that surround me this year. Please send me the gift card I want to cook a great meal for my family who would really appreciate it! Thanks whole foods!

Autumn says …

I am thankful for Ryan Gosling.

vanessa k says …

I will never forget Thanksgiving 1989. I was on six months house arrest for a dui. Being only 6 months sober, and, restricted to my apartment; I was unable to go anywhere except aa meetings, grocery shopping, and, work. When I finially surrendered to my very serious drinking problem; I was given lots of support, new real friends, (people who truly cared for me), and, a life beyond my wildest dreams. I was able to grocery shop once a week, for one hour, and I bought, and, cooked the turkey. My loving God, and his angels brought the family, with kids, and all the trimmings. In writing this; I have tears of gratitude, and, a heart filled with joy. I haven't had a drink since. The Thanksgiving of 1978 will forever be embeded in my soul; and, each Thanksgiving since; I remember the family, and thank God for my soberity! Blessings to you all.

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