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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

nik says …

I was most grateful on the Thanksgiving after my Dad survived a "non-survivable" cancer. He'd been diagnosed in May with an aggressive sarcoma and immediately had surgery. He was in ill health already and the doctors said "gather the family" enough times to let us know that the prospects weren't good. Well he valiantly pulled through the surgery and championed through chemo and radiation in his own tenacious exuberant manner. He was able to recover fully and that year's Thanksgiving was the most heart-warming, spirit-affirming holiday I can imagine. He's still kicking his heels 7 years later and each T-day spent with him is one of true gratitude. :)

Cinda Terry says …

Thanksgiving has always been about family and good food. My mother passed away 4 years ago. I now cook the thanksgiving meal for my father and my family every year. My dad is very feeble but still lives at home. I travel 1 hour north each week to visit him, converse with him and make sure he has home cooked meals and whatever else he requires each week. I always feel that my weekend time with my dad is a whirlwind. I look forward to Thanksgiving each year when I take an extra day off and travel up to be with my dad and beging the meal preprations. We watch old movies and look through old family photo albums and wait up for the deer that come to feed in his back yard every evening this time of year. Memories I will cherish always!

dolly says …

The last thanksgiving my father was alive and well enough to join the festivities. He died the following June, with a brain cancer.

Susan says …

I am thankful for Grace - The beautiful person Grace with whom my parents live. The grace with which she has dedicated herself to taking care of these two amazing people with Alzheimer's. The grace with which my parents navigate their lives without the comforts of memories and connections to the world that most enjoy. The grace by which friends and family can gather on Thanksgiving to be together in that moment - Amazing Grace.

Terri Roth says …

Every year during Thanksgiving break my family drives to our parent's cabin in the Upper Peninsula. There is no running water so we must bring in large containers of water for cooking and cleaning. Each year my mother would prepare a traditional Thanksgiving feast with very little help from any of us, and we never gave a thought to how much work it took to put that fabulous meal on the table. My mom worked as a school secretary at the time, and one year we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner to find mashed potatoes that came from a box,gravy, pressed turkey meat, stuffing, and pumpkin pie all left over from the school's lunch service the day before. We were crushed, Thanksgiving was a bust, and we never took my mother for granted again. Now we all pitch in and insist she sit back and relax

April Green says …

My most thankful Thanksgiving will have to be this Thanksgiving 2011.My mother was diagnosed with an agressive form of cancer one year ago.Unfortunately, it was around that time that my husband also became unemployed.We made the decision to move to Colorado with our two children to be closer to my family so we could help them.Through this painful situation our family has had to adjust and grow together as a family and in our faith in order to persevere.We continue to face many challenges.I am grateful to report that my mother has survived this terrible ordeal, and one year later all scans show cancer-free! A real miracle! My husband is employed, and we recently moved into a beautiful home.This year will be the first time I have ever hosted a holiday meal.I've prayed to have the opportunity for 11 years and now I am getting that chance! I will have both parents aunt cousin friends, and even my soon to be 94 year old grandmother! I am VERY excited! ...and VERY thankful! :)

Chris says …

I'm thankful that I've been able to spend so many thanksgivings with my family. I've never had to be away from them on Thanksgiving, so I get to enjoy spending several days together with them eating and hanging out. I know a lot of people don't get to see their families on Thanksgiving, so I'm very thankful for this.

Lisa says …

The thanksgiving I am most thankful for is this one. Everyone is happy, healthy and excited to be together. Can't wait to start cooking!

Melissa says …

I am thankful this year for a new member of our family, little Philip, who has brought smiles and joy into all our lives!

Gwen DePaz says …

Thanksgiving 2010. Best Thanksgiving ever! I had lost my entire family to disease, strokes, Cancer, suicide and more. As having been the middle child in the family I miss my family more than words can say. So last Thanksgiving I decided to donate my time helping feed the homeless and the elderly at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Seal Beach, CA. It was the best thing I ever did. Meeting the homeless and seeing that they were enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving meal made me aware that my situation could have been worse - having a roof over my head is the most important thing for me. Talking to all of the eldery at the Church Hall and hearing their separate stories made my heart grow warmer. Everyone needs a smile and a hug too. Each year St. Anne's Church feeds those who need a meal or who would have been alone on this very special holiday. As many others were getting ready to shop until they dropped, the time spent with needy people was a diamond in the rough for me. As my bad back won't allow me to do this this year I'm sure that there are others who take over. It was a total joy to see young people donating their time to feed all of these people and then they went home to their own "Thanksgiving meals". It was truly a special time for me...give up of oneself is what life should be all about. Growing up in a Jewish home

abigail says …

I'm most thankful for my family on Thanksgiving. Trite, but true. What could be more blessed than four siblings raised by a loving and empowering couple now into their 5th decade together?

gary says …

I am most grateful for the companionship that I found this year after over 10 years of searching for a rock solid companion..I have found her.

Annette says …

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving's with my dad when he was alive. He was 66 when he died in 1988. That was a particularly tough year for me because of his unexpected death but also I was divorced earlier in that same year.

tiffany c says …

My daughter was born early and in the NICU, but she is now healthy and happy, which I am very thankful for. I am also thankful that my other daughter has made it thru her medical procedure and is also healthy and happy. My husband is going thru some health issues, but he is taking medicine for it, and hopefully it will be alright. I am most thankful for my family, which I cherish everyday.

Julianne says …

This year will be my most thankful. We have 2 amazing foster kids living with us who have taught all of us a lot about taking things for granted. Explaining to them what Thanksgiving is and seeing the excitement they have just for every little thing reminds all of us to be grateful.

Kristy says …

I am brought total joy when I recall a Thanksgiving of years gone by... probably 2005 or 2006. I recently moved to California from the East Coast. My great friend, also from the East Coast, and I were unable to visit our families back home, so we took a trip to Yosemite together. The weather was not the best - rainy and damp and cold - but my heart was warmed by the kindest neighbor campers ever! What a surprise when they asked us to join them for a camp-out Thanksgiving feast. I was delighted and yet, I was a total vegan and thought, what can a vegan eat from a typical Thanksgiving feast? But, to my delight, they replied, "It IS a vegan Thanksgiving feast!!" What a wonderfully warm invitation and even better food. It was a total feast, and I am still unsure how they managed to cook & warm it all & get it to a campsite. I was able to enjoy every morsel without guilt. Probably the best Thanksgiving meal I have ever had, as it still lingers in my mind... I am grateful for the kindness of neighbors, wherever and however they appear.

Della P. DuBose says …

My most thankful thanksgiving may very well be this one. My elderly(89 yrs old) Aunt who helped raise me fell several months ago and broke her leg and has since become almost completly disabled. She has no children of her own and no family in Indiana. So why will I be thankful this year?? Well you see I'm married with a family of my own but I live in South Carolina and have been taking care of my mom(her sister)who is also elderly(88)and disabled. Since I couldn't be with my Aunt for thanksgiving, I have spent the entire day on the phone trying to locate a restaurant near her home in Nora to deliver a thanksgiving dinner. I have called every restaurant within a 20 mile radius, I have offered to pay a delivery fee or extra money for gas and still have been told they do not deliver. I have begged, cried, and pleaded but was told due to insurance restrictions they just could not deliver. So again why am I thankful? Well finally about 20 minutes ago I reached a store manager that was willing to deliver a dinner with all the trimmings to her on his day off. It won't be anything special and didn't include bread or desserts but it was the best I could do. It wont be actually on thanksgiving but a few days before. I can't reveal the managers name or even the name of the store because he could loose his job over doing this for me. But it restores my faith in mankind and all the good people in the Indianapolis area. To know that my aunt will have not only a hot meal, but a real turkey dinner for thanksgiving. This gives me the most to be thankful for this year. If I win this gift certificate I will use it all to send additional items to her. Thank you !

Danielle says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for...All the ones spent at home surrounded by family. I am a college student and just moved away from home (FL to PA) and unfortunately, I won't be able to go home for Thanksgiving this year. It makes you realize how important it is to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and that no matter how far away you are, you will always have them in your heart :) I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

Laurie says …

I am most thankful for any Thanksgiving I spend with family and friends. Last year we spend the holiday with a friend and her family and although it was different than our usual tradition, it was one of our best Thanksgivings yet. My friends have truly helped me through some rough times and I am so thankful for them.

Deb says …

For most of the 2000's I was blessed to have 2 thanksgivings each year, one with my family (which is wonderful!) and a second with my wonderful friends - most of whom are Irish. Irish?! Yes - and these wonderful people have completely embraced this all american tradition. They are so far from their families but we've all become family in California. Each year we would divvy up the different items, create a make shift table with ply wood to support sitting close to 30 people, mix and match plates, silver ware and glasses -- but it was always the most fun and a great reminder of how friends are the family we choose. Unfortunately a lot of the gang has moved to other places around the globe (back to Ireland and different places in the States) so the tradition has stopped. But I look back on those wonderful years with such happiness!

Paulina says …

Although I wont be with my whole family this year, the one thanksgiving I am most thankful for has to be this one. After ten years of marriage I finally have my first baby with me. I got very sick after his birth and that made me realize and be thankful for the things i had taken for granted in the past. I am so thankful because my baby, and my husband are healthy. I am also thankful because I can take care of my baby, enjoy him, and be with him as he grows up.

Sarah says …

I'm most thankful for all of my friends, who never fail to cheer me up when I'm down.

Christie Friday says …

I will be thankful for having my last Thanksgiving with my mom who is dying of brain cancer at Pioneer House in Sacramento. She was given 6 months to live May 30, 2011. She is determined to have some ham and sweet potato for Thanksgiving. She can't say much but talking about what we are bringing to her on that day makes her smile.

Ben Roberts says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving I'm about to enjoy this year. It's not that I'm going to see new family, that the food will be any more extraordinary than it always is, or even that I'm hungry right now. It will be the first time I've been home and seen my family since leaving for my Freshman Year of college. I miss them more than any pie, side dish, or leftover turkey sandwich.

Donna Smith says …

I am most thankful for last year's Thanksgiving. I met my husband in 2010 and we were married in the summer and spent our first Thanksgiving together last year. I am so thankful for the blessing of a wonderful husband and am looking forward to many more Thanksgivings together.

Emma says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving I am about to have this year. I'm away at college and terribly homesick and can't wait to be back with my family, even if just for the weekend. We've also had some scares with family members battling cancer in the last few weeks and I'm looking forward to getting more time with them. And finally, I'm moving to Australia in a few months and wont be home for potentially a year or two and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be the last times I see my family before I leave.

Ingemar Hulthage says …

My first Thanksgiving in the US as a grad student, a fellow student invited to share the holiday with their family.

sallie haynes says …

My Dad was in the hospital; he had colon cancer. My Mom and I made a turkey but instead of the usual 22 pounder for lots of friends, we cooked a 10 pound bird that we burnt beyond recognition. We looked at each other and started sobbing. Then we dried our eyes, went to the ICU and found out that my Dad was going to be ok, and we could not have cared less about the awful turkey. I think we had grilled cheese that year and were beyond thankful.

m hurson says …

I am thankful for this years Thanksgiving. Even though there will not be a homemade meal this year due to my step-mother's eye surgery. And even though I cannot make my grandparents dinner because my grandmother is in physical therapy for knee surgery, I still get to go out to dinner with my Grandfather and two aunts. I am thankful for my Grandfather because regardless of what is going on, and how bleak things seem to be, he finds a way to make things better.

Angela Scarpinito says …

My grandmother who was born in Cork, Ireland in 1895. She emigrated to this country in 1905 thru Ellis Island with her sisters. Her mother died when she was 2 yrs old and she was raised by her older sisters. She raised me as a child in NY and brought her traditional Irish ways into our traditional Thanksgiving holiday. Her food was very plain and very good. She would grow her own garden and grandma taught me how to do canning. Granny was an original organic farmer. Granny also taught me how to knit and sew on a non-electric Singer sewing machine I still have today. I say a prayer for her everyday and miss her greatly. Happy Thanksgiving to Granny!

nosogirl says …

I'm most thankful for this Thanksgiving. I will be traveling to spend it with my family who lives 3 states away. Normally I don't got home for Thanksgiving. My bi-annual visits are Easter and Christmas. But my dad had a heart attack this past Labor Day. Thankfully he's fine, but it spurred me into deciding that I needed to be with the family for Thanksgiving, too. Family - and time - are too precious.

Laura says …

This Thanksgiving is my favorite, because not only will I be with my immediate and extended family, but my dad is flying my 15 year-old son and I to Boston, and we are driving from there to Manchester, New Hampshire, for an Andre Rieue concert! My dad loves this unique, fun-loving conductor so much, that he wants to share the musical and memory-making experience with us! So, I'm super thankful for my family, and especially my generous 79 year-old Dad, particularly since my son loves classical music and just made the local symphony youth orchestra!

Rebecca says …

I am most thankful for my most recent Thanksgiving, as it was the last one I got to spend with my grandfather. In fact, this Thanksgiving was the last time I ever saw my grandfather. Each year, my family gathers at my own house, where my mother cooks for days and days to prepare. We all sit together at a very large table in our dining room, and continue to sit for hours together eating and talking. We always go around the table and share what we are most thankful for, which has always proved to be a really nice thing to do. I am so thankful that I got to spend about twenty years of my own life with my grandfather, and that the last time I saw him, he told us he was most thankful to have his family in his life.

Ana says …

I'm grateful for my salvation,my family and friends,for the hard times that have taught me unvaluable lessons nad for this great country we live in!!!

Mels says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving of 2008. In 2007 I spend the holiday alone, for a variety of reasons, and it was truly one of the sadder moments of my life. By 2008 the person that I missed so terribly had returned, and as a result, it was one of the sweetest,warmest, funniest Thanksgivings I have ever experienced. 3 years later, we are still here :)

Erika says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving celebration my family will share together this year. This year has been one of the most challenging of years we have faced together. Problems keep arising from all directions: I have been battling a chronic disease which keeps me from being able to work and go to school, my sisters both moved away from home, finances have been extrememly tight because of doctor bills, and we don't know what the next few months will hold. However, through all of this, we have realized how important it is for the family to stick together and to love one another no matter what. Our family will finally be together this Thanksgiving for the first time since the beginning of the year. I am so thankful for my family and for the memories to be created this Thanksgiving!

Jean says …

I'm thankful that I can help prepare and serve the Thanksgiving meal for the homeless taking shelter in the basement of an inner-city church. They are so grateful that someone takes some time to help them with food and shelter.

Alex Tan says …

For access to the plentiful harvest of the earth bounties, From four corner of the world or nearby counties, We are thankful, God. For giving health back to my wife and family, And Macy's sale and Whole Food's Friday special, We are grateful, too. For our peace amidst diversity and differences, Despite all the world's turmoils, We thank you all.

Leigh Stevens says …

I’m most thankful for this Thanksgiving because it will be a time of reflection, joy and sorrow. The joy will come as we celebrate our son's, who we brought home from China, first thanksgiving but bittersweet as we cherish my father-in-law's last thanksgiving due to terminal cancer.

Gretchen says …

Alison's reply above is my pick for a win, though I could sure use the $50 in Thanksgiving yummy fixins from Whole Foods Markets to share with my parents, 92 and 96! It is well-known among caregivers of our elders that we are soon into our retirement funds (with 10% penalty hence not recommended!) because we cannot work. My last day of work was 7/11/11 due to Dad's suddenly needing hospitalization 6x and 7 weeks of home rehabilitation from what he calls "diapers" (depends) to briefs 24/7 every 2 hours bladder training. My sisters (8-10 hours away) think I need to "get a life" and that if they were in his condition, they would rather be dead. Oops. I know we will never share values and have learned to accept "agreeing to disagree" and care very much that they have enough quality time with our parents and information on their health. I have been living with Dad 4 years (because he asked me to) in order for him to be able to live at home, 4 blocks from Mother's nursing home. We bring Mother fresh fruits and vegetables and feed her every day, so she is living a lot longer than the average nursing home stay (2 years). I take them out to the Safari, restaurants, anything to keep them interested and get Vitamin D3. Now it is 2 wheel chairs simultaneously. Tomorrow I will bring Mother to Dad's rehabilitation facility (hip-socket fracture 3 weeks ago), bringing dinner at lunchtime. Yesterday we went out with my 3 sisters to a museum-lighthouse fresh seafood restaurant and Mother smiled a lot to see all her daughters together. They have left now, but Thanksgiving a la Whole Foods Market would be so nice and I could tell them we won something!

JB says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most thankful for is the one we're about to have. I'm going to spend it with my siblings for the first time in many years.

Christine says …

I'm particularly happy that my friend Tony will be returning from his tour-of-duty in Afghanistan soon.

Fallan Patterson says …

This Thanksgiving I am most thankful for my son. He brightens my day by singing songs, "shaking his butt" (dancing), and painting. He always has a beautiful outlook on life and makes me feel so special when he runs up to me, gives me a hug and says he loves me. My life wouldn't be complete without him in it.

Sylvia says …

I am most thankful for last year's Thanksgiving. My entire family within an hour's radius got together, and we spent a few hours together; the kids playing games, and the older kids watching football. The food was delicious, and I'm thankful for the memories!

Adela Vanremoortere says …

I'm greatful for not bring homeless, for a beautiful family, and for the simple things like the existence of Wholefoods and other vendors bringing healthy alternatives to consumers. I'm thankful to Steve Jobbs or his contributions. Mostly thankful to all those humanitarians that volunteer across the globe.

Angie Tyrpak says …

This Thanksgiving I have been given the opportunity to celebrate with my family. Although this is always something to be thankful for, this year I am cancer-free and that has given me a more thankful attitude on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year! :)

Christine says …

The Thanksgiving that sticks out most in my mind is the Thanksgiving I wasn't home for. I was in school and going home (~600 miles away) for one weekend and then coming right back to finals didn't seem like a good idea. So, I spent the actual Day of Thanksgiving alone, house and cat-sitting for a friend. When I did make it home, two weeks later, there was a turkey dinner with all my favorite fixings. I'll be away from home this Thanksgiving Day again, but that first Thanksgiving Day away from my family taught me that any day with my family can be Thanksgiving.

Yessenia Tinoco says …

Thanksgiving last year. I found out I was going to be a mommy and grateful to have an amazing husband. He is my hero. Everyone helps with the cookiNg so it's exiting each year. We always go around the table before anyone eats and say what were most thankful for that year.

Tracy says …

I am a single mom, and I have two disabled children who are now 20 and 21. They have both been through things no one should ever have to go through. I am so grateful this Thanksgiving to be able to be with them both and see them doing so well after having suffered so many challenges. My son is in his first year of college, something that I often wondered if he would ever be able to handle, and is thriving and doing well academically! He lives alone and has learned how to be self-sufficient, which I am so proud of him. He has been gone from home since the beginning of May, which is the longest he has ever been away from home, and he asked me if I would like him to bring anything back from New Orleans for Thanksgiving Dinner (he goes to Tulane)!!! That's a miracle for him given his brain injury and his difficulties with organization. Usually it doesn't occur to him that there is a holiday unless I tell him and prepare him! He even won a scholarship to college, which has made all the difference for him financially. My daughter, who is Autistic and Epileptic, is doing so much better recently with an increase in her medication and is now talking up a storm, which is so gratifying. We will have to practice saying, "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Mary Campbell says …

I was 11 years old when my most thankful Thanksgiving happened. My sister, Margaret, who was 13, and I fought almost constantly and I used to wish that she would just go away since she usually won the fights. Then it happened. She did go away to the hospital four days before Thanksgiving. She had a case of poison rash so sudden and severe that she had to be fed intravenously since her mouth was affected. I worried about her constantly and actually missed her. Finally, on Thanksgiving morning I asked Mom where Dad was and she told me that he went to pick up Margaret to bring her home. I was so thankful to have her back and well again.

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