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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

Claire says …

My brother announced that he wouldn't be with us for Thanksgiving this year, as he was going to spend it with friends and his girlfriend out of town. My mother is devastated, but trying not to be too upset about it. The Thanksgiving I would be most thankful for is if he surprised her by being home for Thanksgiving with his girlfriend.

Kelly says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most thankful for is the one that happens after the parties. After a full day of seeing relatives and eating delicious food (which I love, don't get me wrong), I head back to my parents' house to spend the night. I love that time alone with them talking about the holiday and all the family news. That time that's "just us" is so rare now, and it reminds me of all the nights I took it for granted when I was a child.

Kayla says …

I'm most thankful for the Thanksgiving we had a couple of years ago. I had just moved back home, mom had suffered a stroke, and dad had just been laid off from his job. It wasn't the most fancy or anything, but we were all thankful, blessed, and loved each other. It was a wonderful time, even though we didn't have much!

Brittany says …

Most of my family lives in New Jersey, but I spend the larger portion of my childhood years in Ontario, Canada. It was strange to not have school off for American Thanksgiving - but we always took it anyway. Canadian Thanksgiving happens in October over a weekend, but it is not as big of a holiday as it is in the states. My dad worked for an American company, so we would often have his co-workers and their families over, or visit theirs. Eventually, American Thanksgiving grew to a ton of close friends and neighbours. My friends, my brother's friends, my parents' friends and co-workers - up to 50 people at times. The culture in the area we lived was very diverse - Indian, Italian,Irish, Polish, Czech, German, and everyone would bring one of their favourite dishes from 'home'. We taught them about an American tradition, while all being thankful for more than our country. Today, I don't often get to have Thanksgiving with my family, and so have started the tradition with my own friends and co-workers. We gather as many people as want to come and cook ridiculous new (if not sometimes terrible!) recipes. Those Thanksgivings as a kid will always be my favourite though - I loved getting my friends out of class, too!

Rachel says …

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would always make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for our family. But as I got older, so did she, and it got to the point where she was no longer able to make those wonderful meals I so cherished. Instead, our family would go to one of the restaurants in the nearby Amish settlement and enjoy a tasty meal there. A few years ago, while I was in college, I decided to put my foot down. Thanksgiving was about the food, and it just wasn't the same when we weren't cooking it. I told my mom I wanted to have a REAL Thanksgiving, and she replied, "Okay, are you going to be in charge then?" I took her challenge and declared that we would have a homemade Thanksgiving that year. My dad made a turkey in my tiny oven in my apartment (and made a huge mess of course!) and my mom, future husband, and I made potatoes, casseroles, veggies, and dessert. My extended family also signed up to bring dishes and the whole meal turned out wonderfully. As a result, we've had a homemade meal at Thanksgiving every year since.

Katie Paine says …

I am most thankful for the beautiful, compassionate, and giving people in my life. They make my days brighter.

Heather says …

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have healthy, natural food options on the Thanksgiving table. The holidays seem to always be associated with over-indulging and libation but this year, I'm grateful to be able to provide healthy options for me and my family.

Cheryl V says …

I think that I am most Thankful for Thanksgiving last year. It was the first one I have not had with my family and it was really hard. I am so grateful that we had family here to go to on the day and I am thankful that both my dad and father in law are here - both are cancer survivors.Being together means so much more to us now.

Johanna says …

I am most thankful that my husband is not on a deployment this thanksgiving also thnat we have food shelter and clothing in these hard times is the necessities that really matter

Vickie says …

I am most thankful for my health, 3 beautiful daughters, my wonderful son in law and Justin. I have a good job and a good life. I am thankful for that. I don't take it for granted. I know I am truly blessed.

kassidy witnauer says …

This thanksgiving I am most thankful for my mother. Its been a tough year for our family, but my mom continues to put my sister and I first in whatever she does as well as strive to be the best 3rd grade teacher she can be. And trust me, not only is she a teacher but she is a great role model and shoulder to cry on for those little kids. My mom has worked so hard to become a wonderful teacher and mother. All week long she will find time in her busy schedule to do special things with my sister and I while still making time to put hours into her school work, keep an extremely clean house and cook delicious dinners. Teaching is her speciality but being a mom is her passion and it is so obvious every day of the year. I am so thankful for her more and more each year as I grow up and realize how much she actually gives up and does for my sister and I. She is supportive of everything I do and always gives me her best advice. She has helped me become the person I am today and it is my goal in life to live as unselfishly as she does and hope my children can say these things about me.

CO Mama says …

It might have to be this Thanksgiving. My FIL is battling stage IV lung & brain cancer & my hubby was just diagnosed with lymphoma. We have so many special memories to make this year as we spend time together as a family & much to be thankful for, each day is a gift!

Lisa says …

I'm thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving in America this year. I'm actually from Australia and am coming to spend the holiday with one of my best friends and his family. I am thankful that I get to experience a celebration which is so important to Americans.

j.J. says …

The Thanksgivings I'm most thankful for, where the ones when we were kids and lived 8 hours or more away from the rest of our families. Not only was that a long drive with little kids in the car, but Christmas was in the middle of snow season, and there was a big risk that there would be too much snow to visit. So, Thanksgiving was the last time we got to see our relatives until Easter. It was a big party and conglomeration Thanksgiving, Christmas and a couple of birthdays thrown in. And despite all that, it was still about family.

Nichole says …

The thanksgiving I'm most thankful for would be all the ones I had as a child with friends and family. As we grow up we grow apart so it's good to look back and remember when everyone was together!

Elizabeth says …

The Thanksgiving I’m most thankful for is any and all Thanksgivings that my children, husband & I are alive, healthy, and happy on. It really is all the little things that are the biggest! God bless & Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren says …

I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. At the beginning of the year my husband and I were transferred from VA to CA, away from all of our friends and family. It seemed like a horrible thing at the time, especially because I was 7 months pregnant with our first child. However, living out here has been the greatest adventure of our lives. It hasn't been all easy and wonderful. My husband has been gone for military reasons a good portion of the time we've been here, and with a newborn that has been difficult at times. But the challenges have made us stronger people, and we are so grateful that we have had the opportunity to live in the beautiful Bay Area. This will be our first Thanksgiving with our son and we will be celebrating it together, just the three of us, and reflecting on all the blessings we have been given this year. It will also be our first Vegan Thanksgiving! :)

Lisa Schaffer says …

I am so very thankful for all six of my kids! Even though we've dealt with Asthma, Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and complex heart defects twice, I am thankful for every experience I've been blessed to live through. Burying a child was the toughest, but oh, how I learned about myself and LIFE during my son's short 9 weeks here on Earth. I never imagined I would be a mom, and certainly not six times over. I am blessed!

Maryann says …

I am most thankful to have a supportive and loving husband, a beautiful home, two adorable cats and to have a chance to enjoy another holiday season with family.

Beth Mickens says …

It's so true when they say you never appreciate what you have until it's gone. My family and I used to have traditions for every holiday: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas...and they always included a trip to my grandma's house. We would always gather together, play games, have fun, eat great food and just enjoy time with family that we rarely ever saw during the parts of the year. Then she passed away a few years ago and the tradition was broken. We no longer get together for holidays and when we do, it misses that spark that grandma brought. I may be sad and disappointed about how we have let the traditions die, but now that I am an adult with a family of my own, I am starting my own holiday traditions. She has taught me how important family is. Nowadays we get stuck in a work and money rut and forget about what's most important. I'm thankful for everything she has taught me the past 20 years that she was alive. And I'm even more thankful that I have a family that I have been absolutely blessed with to carry on those traditions with. Even more this will be my parents very first vegan thanksgiving! I'm so blessed that veganism has helped them both become happier and healthier. The transition for them was a cinch thanks to all the amazing vegan products that Wholefoods carries. Happy Thanksgiving!

ladyjake says …

Eleven years ago, Nov 23, 2000 - My boyfriend and I were hosting both our parents for Thanksgiving dinner, for the first time, in our small one-bedroom apartment ... I dropped the beautiful and presumably delicious two-layer pumpkin pie on the kitchen floor as I was taking it out of the oven, and tried my best not to cry. BF insisted it was the perfect time to have a pre-dinner Champagne toast - I bucked up and headed to the living/dining room, glass in hand. He made a beautiful toast that ended with "Will you marry me!" We've been married for ten years and have been hosting both families - with all siblings and their families - ever since!

David says …

To my beautiful wife and best friend, who I'm thankful to have in my life and for her saying 'I Do' to a someone like me this past summer

melissa m says …

I'm thankful that my boyfriend will be home from Afghanistan before Christmas.

Quiana says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most thankful for was when I traveled to Finland to be with my now husband. He was working there and cold and lonely and I brought Thanksgiving with me in my suitcase from Boston. It was a fun memory!

Eliana Marks says …

The Thanksgiving for which I am most grateful is the one I was able to have shortly after finding a safe window in my life to leave an abusive relationship. I felt deeply grateful to be alive, to have the space and time to heal and be with people who truly cared for me and relished the chance to begin again. Most of the details of that Thanksgiving gathering escape my mind now but I remember a deep sense of relief at finally being free from a very narrow place in my life and grateful for the strength, ingenuity and will I had to do what I needed to do to create a new life. For those things and all those who stood by me, believed in me, and continue to love me, I am grateful. I am keenly aware of my blessings each day since so that each day has in some sense become Thanksgiving!

Lisa says …

The Thanksgiving I’m Most Thankful For is this one. My mom died about 2 years ago and my dad has been so lost without her. We relocated to CO earlier this year, while dad is still back in FL. When we were getting ready to move here, my dad said to me, "I'm afraid I'll never see you again." So, in honor of dad's 80th birthday, my siblings and I bought him tickets to come out to visit for 2 weeks and spend Thanksgiving with my husband, myself and our kids. This Thanksgiving will be a celebration for sure!

Luke says …

I'm thankful that my turkey is coming from WHOLE FOODS this year!

Lindsey Clements says …

I will forever be thankful for Thanksgiving my family and I spent together in 1999. That was the last Thanksgiving my Mum-mum spent with us. Cancer was slowly taking her from us but she wouldn't let that spoil the holidays. This time of year was always her favorite because she loved spending time with us and spoiling all her kids and grandkids. Every Thanksgiving is always wonderful but that one will alwys stand out to me.

kathy wilson says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most grateful for was the last one before losing my parents, 2 brothers, and a sister.

Zoe says …

This will be my most Thankful Thanksgiving yet. Just knowing that the year we have all gone through is passed and it can only get better is a great feeling. Everything from moving to a new house, a new job, an accident with broken bones, surgery, possible cancer scares in the family, losing weight, running a half-marathon, and all those little things in between-just glad to be here for another Thanksgiving!

Rose Mazzarella says …

Our families best Thanksgiving was in the year 2007. My nine year old son was at Children's Hospital Boston. He was undergoing a bone marrow transplant. My beautiful boy had been diagnosed in the summer of 2007 with AML Leukemia. This type of Leukemia has to be fought aggressively with chemo and full body radiation. He also had to undergo a bone marrow transplant. We were extremely blessed that our beautiful twelve year old daughter was his perfect match. Our daughter gave our son the beautiful gift of life. My son was admitted in the hospital the first week of August and now it was November and we will still there. The week of Thanksgiving was very stressful for us. Our son had not yet met one of the most important milestones of the transplant. In order for him to be discharged he had to be making his own blood cells that were from his sister's precious marrow. On Thanksgiving morning we were told that Matthew had "en-grafted" which means his body was making the blood cells he needed. We were beyond thankful. We ate a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with the nurses, doctors and the other families who children were also fighting for their lives. We were so happy to be there at the hospital with all those amazing and dedicated hospital staff. It was truly the only place we wanted to be. It's been four years now since that incredible day. Our son is doing great and we remain to be so thankful. We will never forget the Thanksgiving of new life. Many blessings to all of you.

Lisa says …

The first Thanksgiving after I moved to the Boston area from the midwest, i didn't know very many people, and my boss invited me to spend it with her family in Concord.

Jen Hill says …

I am most thankful for my fiance. We've lost so much family and friends over the last few years, it makes us appreciate our time together even more...

Lynn R says …

I can't pick just one, as so many have been memorable for different reasons: the ones where the whole family was able to get together; the ones where I was away from my family, but with a great group of friends; the ones where I was able to help less fortunate people celebrate and not be alone. How can I pick just one?!

Kathy says …

Myself and a few friends, all being without family with whom to spend the holiday, put together a "lost children's" Thanksgiving. Someone's elderly mother came and taught me how to make gravy. My dog bonded with the quiet guy from work. The middle aged divorced guy shed a tear as it was the first Thanksgiving he hadn't spent alone in 10 years. It was the first holiday I ever spent entirely drama free, away from the critical and guilt inducing eyes of my family.

Lakisha C. says …

I usually work on major holidays, but I don't mind. I miss out on all of the good food,that i only eat a few times a year and family that I dont get to see that often, but I am extremely blessed to have a full time job with benefits. Thats something that a lot of Americans dont have right now.........

Donna B! says …

The Thanksgiving I’m Most Thankful For is the first one when I went vegan. My partner created a new Thanksgiving ritual of cranberry pecan pancakes so that the holiday could still feel special.

Ashley says …

I don't know what year it was, and I honestly could be combining a few different times into one, but my most memorable Thanksgiving was when I was in high school. I was probably a Junior or Senior. We had very little family left in the area and our holiday dinners had been small for years. My mom sometimes invited people over to make the events seem less small and empty, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. This one particular year, we had let everyone and anyone know that if they wanted to come to our house for Thanksgiving or after their family's meal. Amusingly, many of my friends took the invitation to heart and MANY of them came over after they were done at their own family's Thanksgiving. Some of my friends had very early Thanksgiving "dinners", others were arguing with their parents, while others had divorced parents and awkward events that they just badly wanted to escape. We ended up with a party, and so many at the table. We sort of took in all of these teenagers last year, and the house felt warm and joyful for the first time in a long time.

Molly says …

I'm thankful in advance for this year's Thanksgiving because I will be bringing my partner to a family holiday event for the first time.

annette r. says …

I am thankfull for many things, but the one thing I am most greatfull for, is meeting my husband. This year will be our 2nd Thanksgiving together.

Jackie says …

Over 40 years ago, my parents and five of us small kids came over to the United States after escaping Vietnam after the Vietnam War. With nothing but the clothes on our back and M&M chocolates given to us by the navy men who rescued us at sea.:) We settled in a small town in Oklahoma about an hour away from Oklahoma City. The people there embraced my family and took us in with open arms. They put a roof over our head, found my parents jobs, put us kids in school and provided food for us all. It was our first Thanksgiving in America that year. At that time, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and all the stuffings were funny tasting to us especially my parents since they were accustomed to their own food. But we didn't care,we still ate the food that was prepared and put forth before us. We had so many things to be so Thankful for, to just be alive and live in a land where freedom is a given right to all people. We were truly blessed and lucky to have experienced our first Thanksgiving with our friends and wonderful people who truly saved our lives!!

Connie Camit says …

Mine is quite simple. I am most thankful for all the opportunities I had in the past to enjoy thanksgiving surrounded by family. My husband and I moved out of state (with hopes to provide greater opportunity for our school children & financial security for us as a family). How I miss them!!!

tara ansley says …

This Thanksgiving I have alot to be thankful for. My father has been suffering for years with many illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, you name it, he has it. His organs are shutting down, he is almost completely blind, his spine is about to collapse and severe his spinal cord, and this year, will probably be the last that I will have the luxury of spending with him. My son is currentlly four years old, and this will probably be one of the last major holidays he will get to spend with my father, and it is something I will hold very near and dear to me as it will probably be the best I will have. I am so thankful for the many years I got to spend with him, and all the things he has done for me. I am truly blessed to have had such an amazing man in my life, and though things aren't going well at the moment, I will take this time to be thankful for the time that I do have, even if it is short lived. It fills my heart with sadness to know that my father's day may be drawing near; But I am thankful for the time that my son has had with him, as it could have been none at all. I am thankful for my son, thankful for my family, and thankful for every moment I spend with them. I am thankful for all that I have, it may not be all that I want and wish for, but I am so thankful for what I do have, and anytime I wish for something more, I think of the fact that some are not as lucky as me, and I am grateful for what I do have. I am happy for the memories, and even the tears, because that just shows that I had something special, worth crying over, and even that in itself is beautiful.

Claire says …

I will be most thankful for THIS Thanksgiving. Last year on November 10th, my sister in law was emitted into the hospital ( four days after a serious car accident in which someone was texting and blew a stop sign, hitting my sister in law's car) a second time that week with severe pain, and loss of body temperature. Not two hours later she went into septic shock due to a ruptured small intestine. We almost lost her....The following 3 weeks consisted of us thinking "She is here one more day" That Thanksgiving she was still in the ICU. For the first time in the 20 years I have been part of this family we all spent Thanksgiving apart. Just two months ago she completed the set of surgeries that allow her to actually eat ( for 8 months she was on intravenous nutrition).... This Thanksgiving we have my sister in law with us, we are altogether, and she will be able to sit down and enjoy much of the meal too.

maria says …

Thanksgiving, though I've lived in different places, even celebrated with a real American Indian at my first hosted Thanksgiving, my favorite is one that we shared much of my childhood- big dinner at Grandma's with the nice china, fancy table cloth and special kids table. Don't forget the pumpkin pie. One year we collected leaves pressed them and made place matts with the pressed leaves, construction paper and thankful verses. Thanksgiving and giving thanks-both favorites of mine.

Danielle says …

The best Thansgiving I ever had was last year. My sister's and I ran in a local Turkey Trot. We were in a lovely park, together, some of us faster than others. All was quite because of the holiday and just as I approached the finish it started to snow. It was so beautiful..

PJHrdy says …

I found a really interesting podcast to help everyone get in the Thanksgiving mood. http://youtu.be/IrxVqb0axTA Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Alma says …

Life is a very precious gift that I am thankful for everyday. I love sharing the joy of Thanksgiving Day with my family and friends. The laughter the smiles the aroma of home cooked food and togetherness is so special. Love fills the air. We should all make an effort to spread this positive vibe everyday of ours lives. Be Thankful at all times. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Michele says …

Hello, Last year on Thanksgiving my dog was ill. We were also in the middle of a move, and cooking would have been difficult. At the last minute, my husband and I decided we would go to WHOLE FOODS and purchase our entire meal, and take our dog over my moms to eat. My mom has a very small place, so we all sat in the living room, with our plates on our laps. My dog, a little 4 pound Yorkie was in the middle of my husband and I on a pillow. I hand-fed her turkey - each piece dipped in a little bit of gravy. She seemed very happy and content. This was the last time my mother saw her. We all talked about how, despite the fact it was a last-minute get-together, and despite the fact that we did not cook anything, it was one of the best THANKSGIVING meals we ever had. My dog died on December 12th. Now THANKSGIVING is around the corner, and it will be painful to remember last year. We have decided to purchase our entire meal, once again, from WHOLE FOODS, and share fond memories from last year. Thank you WHOLE FOODS for adding to one of the best memories of our lives.

Lisa says …

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. The foods, the traditions, the tons of people that show up at the table. I've always opened my house to people that weren't going home to their own families. This year, I am especially thankful. After years of infertility treatments costing us all of our savings, somehow, I find myself newly pregnant. A total surprise. And joy. (and this is three years after stopping treatment).

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