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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

Kat says …

It was shortly before last Thanksgiving when I learned I was expecting a baby at the age of 41. It wasn't planned at all. In fact, my baby's father eventually disappeared from my life because he couldn't handle it. Still, last year I celebrated with friends who were happy for me and excited about my baby. By the time my daughter was born in May, her father returned to our lives. She was born six weeks early. At only four pounds and three ounces, she was a tiny gift. As I reflect on all the blessings of the last year, becoming a single mother was the greatest. My daughter has her father in her life and we co-parent our daughter the best way we can. In fact, I'll be having Thanksgiving at his mother's house as a guest of honor. I can't wait to share the gratitude I feel with my daughter.

Erin from Long Island says …

My great Thanksgiving story is when we all drove upstate from LI to spend the weekend at my grandpa's other home. It is very, very old and very, very cold. Somehow, it all felt much more exciting and rustic!

chris lange says …

Just thankful I can always have turkey on thanksgiving

Suzanne says …

Nothing like having your health and being alive to share it with family and friends. I am thankful for every day that I can be with my children and the best friends in the world.

Lisa Mudgett says …

This year's Thanksgiving is already turning out to be the most memorable because we just found out this week that my father does NOT have cancer. We weren't sure where we'd be or what we'd be doing for Thanksgiving, and now we know that we won't be in a hospital, but at home with family and friends enjoying our blessings together!

Mj says …

it was a couple of days before Thanksgiving 4 years ago and I had called my sister to say that I would not be coming for dinner, it was the 1st major holiday after my divorce and my kids weren't sure who they wanted to eat dinner with yet and I was feeling a little sorry for myself and sort of urged everyone to let me this year. well my sis wasn't having any of it and said come on, "Dad's really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year and he wants you there1" I reluctantly went and as usual my my 83 year old father was the life of the party and my kids stopped by and we talked about the holidays past and we laughed so much and my dad seemed even funnier than usual....I am thankful forever that my sister talked me into going that Thanksgiving, because it was the last one I spent with my father.....he died unexpectedly right before Christmas.

Natalia says …

I am most thankful for the health of myself and my loved ones. Let's face it without good health and good spirits, one can be reduced to nothing. I am also blessed with wonderful relationships, and my neverending optimism.

Donna Z says …

What's most important to me is having a happy and healthy family. Everything else that God has given me is a bonus. I am always thankful.

Kitty says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for was the one we had when both my mother and father were still alive. I'll always remember that day.

Mollie Moll says …

I am most Thankful for my immediate family. A husband that works hard to provide us with a very good life and two beautiful little girls that light up our lives! I am thankful that my parents and sister are healthy and happy! I am thankful that my in-laws are so close, it is so important to have family near. I am thankful for my SIL and her beautiful family who are our best friends. In short... I AM THANKFUL FOR FAMILY... the most important aspect of our lives.

trish holt says …

I am so thankful for my family and friends. Last year 2 of our group passed away and it made for a less than great holiday time. However, each month this year we came up with a special way to honortheir memory, with everyone coming together this thanksgiving to celebrate their lives and start new trionsadit

Nicole Jankowski says …

There are so many memories of Thanksgiving that create thankfulness in my heart, but one that stands out more clearly than the rest is the first one I shared with my husband. As he shared the holiday with my family, I had the sense we would be sharing many holidays together in the future. 15 years and 4 kids later, I guess I was right.

Keysa says …

I am most thankful for the life I have been given. All of my experiences have been lessons and I've learned that life is good.

monica adams says …

This Thanksgiving is going to be very important and special for me and my sweet husband because we are going to be celebrating that he is alive to experience another Thanksgiving! Last year, days before Thanksgiving, he was riding his bike to work as usual. An irresponsible driver-in the wrong lane of the road-hit him and as a result he was in very bad shape and had to have surgery. He still has many pains and difficulty at times, but we are very grateful that he is alive! Many thanks, Wholefoods, for helping us take care of our health and remind us to be grateful for all the good in the world!

Kim Roberts says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most grateful for was 3 years ago. My sister, who hadn't been home in 10 years, flew in for our father's 90th birthday that same weekend. My son and his family came in also and I hired a professional photographer to come and take family photos in the late autumn afternoon. It was a beautiful day. It was also the last Thanksgiving with Dad, who died eight months later, one week before my parents' 60th wedding anniversary.

paula jackson says …

I am thankful for many simple things that when added up equal to a beautiful loving life. We don't have a lot of money - never have -to but we have an abundance of the things that matter. I am thankful for my kind andloving husband of almost 26 years; our smart, strong,and balanced 18 year old daughter and our compassionate, intelligent and hysterical 13 yr old son; our 3 rescue dogs who keep us loyal and centered; good andand improving health and healthreal awareness; our parents - all 4 of whom are still alive, fairly healthy, and still independent; our siblings and their children who are living and loving in their own, unique ways; true, good and real friends; jobs we enjoy with paychecks that keep us afloat (even if barely we are still afloat!); health insurance; the good health of all those we love and hold dear; our home with a solid roof, good heat, and too much "stuff"; our pantry and fridge full of food; our cars that are currently working just fine and getting us all safely where we need or want to go; our closets full of clothes; appliances that work and allow us to function on a daily basis; technology to help us find what we need, discover new worlds, and stay "connected"; quiet times and times full of raucous laughter! I am thankful....

su says …

When I was a child the night before Thanksgiving was always busy with my grandmother making biscuits and coffee cake-from scratch without a recipe. My dad made pumpkin pies also from scratch and he always made two itty bitty pies for my sister and me to eat that night. My mom would get up at 4 or 5am Thanksgiving day to start the turkey and later she made chocolate steamed pudding with hard sauce and an amazing chocolate sauce. No written recipes for any of it-they just knew how to do it! Family came over and we'd eat and eat and eat, and after the kids watched tv while the adults played poker. Those days are gone,but I can still feel the warmth of that day, and the feeling of being safe and wrapped up in love. How I miss it.

Anastasia miliauskas says …

I'm thankful that I had a great dad in my life for 33 years until he passed away this last July. I miss him more than anything. The holiday season is really hard this year, however, I have alot of great memories to be thankful for.

Jennifer La Pietra says …

The Thanksgiving I was most thankful for was the last one I spent with my grandfather. We knew he would not be long for our world, so we treasured every moment together.

Lori Powers says …

This year I am thankful for my health....spent the last 3 weeks in a panic after finding large lump in breast....this past tues I had surgery and had removed...benign ! Sad it takes such a scare to put life in perspective....but it has ! just looking forward to spending time with my family and friends. This year Thanksgiing has a whole new meaning

debbie says …

I will always be thankful for my wonderful family and all the wonderful thanksgivings we shared at Pop and Dagmars at the kids table But I am also thankful my neighbor came home from Afghanistan safe! :D

Eleanor Stell says …

My best Thanksgiving memory is when I was about 9 years old and my parents had the whole Polish family over to our house and I can still see my dad proudly carving the HUGE turkey for us all to enjoy. Good times, wish I would have known how special they were.

Stephanie says …

I think the most memorable thanksgiving yet was my first one being married and my husband and I cooked the turkey and stuffing for everyone, it was kinda stressful making sure it turned out but it did :-)

Jill says …

The Thanksgiving that I am most thankful and grateful for is Thanksgiving 2000, when I gave birth to my son. I had complications during my pregnancy, and went into labor a month early- and was blessed with the best Thanksgiving gift a mother could want.

Madeleine D. says …

I'm most thankful for the Thanksgiving 15 years ago-- that's when I met my husband (10 years this year). We now celebrate with our combined families and are thankful for the many blessings we share.

Anne Marie Buonocore says …

I am so grateful for 2 new special people in my life in 2011. Both of my sons became the Dad of a baby girl this year. I cannot image more of a blessing. I am thankful for Sofia and Alex. All of my dreams have come true!

Victoria Wettergreen says …

I'm most thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am incredibly grateful to have money to put food on our table this holiday season when so many don't.

Arlena Lemley says …

I am thankful for the generosity one lonely Thanksgiving a couple years back. I was a low extern in a restaurant and living half way across the country in New York City, i was planning on eating at a diner and sitting at home missing my family. Then plans changed when my very polite kitchen manager decided to invite me to New Jersey about twenty minutes away to enjoy a thanksgiving with others who could not be with their families..I must say it is one of the most memorable thanksgivings I have had, and it truly felt like being with family even though I had just met everyone! Thank you Molly!

Rikki says …

I am most thankful for Thanksgiving of 2004. My son was born almost 3 months premature the previous December, and it was such an emotional roller coaster not knowing his fate. He was released from the hospital a few months later and his first Thanksgiving we felt so blessed to have him with us. The Holiday season will always be extra special to us because we always reflect back on how that one year changed out lives forever.

elizabeth snead says …

I am particualarly thankful this Thanksgiving because my son has just returned from his second tour of Iraq. He is healthy, happy and completing his 5 years of service with the Army!

Mary Mullings says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for would have to be last year's when I was just a few months in to my Vegan lifestyle. A newbie in the kitchen, I was excited to experiment with a vegan pumpkin pie recipe, non-dairy caramelized pecans, and Gardein's Turk'y and stuffing! It was definitely a trial-and-error experience for not only myself, but my family who had never even heard the word Vegan until I took on the challenge just a few months prior. I was ecstatic knowing I was eating healthy, hearty food, and being a small part of the ripple effect in promoting awareness toward the environment, animals, and the upkeep of the human body. I am thankful for the support I have received from family and friends about my lifestyle change, and I am thrilled just to have the opportunity to be an informant on the joys of going Vegan!

Marnie Semple says …

The last few years have been a struggle through unemployment, illness, struggling with foreclosure but the Powers that Be never give us more than we can handle and for that we say thank you each morning when we start the day and each evening as the day ends for no matter the struggle each day is a blessing and for that we are thankful, and especially as we are together again this Thanksgiving to rejoice together and celebrate how greatly we are blessed!

Alex says …

Last year was a rough year. I had moved home from college, was experiencing some family issues and was unhappy at my job. I was reluctant to get into the full spirit of the holidays but with the encouragement of my boyfriend I went. I was greeted with so much love and warmth when I arrived at my parents house. We made paper pilgrim hats, played football in the park and I got to help make all of our dishes from scratch. It happened to be a perfectly sunny fall day and when I walked down to the beach, I saw dolphins jumping in the distant. It was a similar view I had seen just a couple months before at the college I had loved so much and just recently left. For me, the combination of all things beautiful that day was a turning point. I was so thankful to be surrounded by compassion, beauty and love. That Thanksgiving changed my outlook on life.

Nadine Peternel says …

My most thankful Thanksgiving was the year I was politely uninivited to dinner at home because my step father did not like me. A dear friend invited me to her home in Denver and paid for the plane ticket so I would not have to be alone. Thank you to Karen.

Debra reeder says …

I am thankful for this thanksgiving.i have an aging mom who has chronic liver desease and has been in and out of hospital all year. God has allowed us another year together and fr this I am thankful.

Becca says …

Another precious child joined our family three months ago and although my whole family lives out of state, they and their children are making the trek to my home this Thanksgiving to meet their new nephew. I am so anxious and excited to host my first Thanksgiving dinner with my loved ones.

Brett Weber says …

The Thanksgiving that I am most thankful for is the last time my whole family got together for Thanksgiving my friends and I just finished playing football in the street, as my brother and I walked in to our front door the food was ready, the Dallas Cowboys started there game, and everybody gave grateful thanks to the cook at first bite. Of course Rachel Carson could of wrote another book on how un organic the food was then what the heck did we know it was cooked well. Then again factory town politicians are the last one's to know. We talked about everything from used car sales, to Vietnam, volunteer fire department topics, High school football, Tax assessor history and present news, I had a plethora of one line jokes that had everybody laughing, Hills Brothers Coffee, oh and medical gossip that my manhunt game generation could never believe or stomach. The food was good, the conversation was great, everybody had stories to tell, everybody was given the chance and attention to show their thanks. It was a colorful autumn day and we were the proof that factory town politician families could also have the greatest gratitude. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Whole Foods, you give us river victims something to look at.

Melanie says …

I am thankful for any thanksgiving dinner in which I do not have to cook!

Karen MacDonald says …

2 years ago, my son gained entrance into the Eddie Herr International Junior Championships, starting on Thanksgiving day. He beat a boy from Yugoslavia - and when we went to dinner that night, we met up with other American and foreign players and their families, and the only restaurant in town that was open after 6PM was a Chinese buffet. The boys have pictures with the hosts and we all had the best time, laughing, shouting and singing in a dozen languages. That was the best Thanksgiving ever. And we are able to to it again this year, as he has just qualified for the event. I hope the Chinese buffet is still open.

Carol says …

That my dad is improving bit by bit after complications encountered in open heart surgery last Friday. He is blessed by all praying for him.

Jessica says …

This year, I'm most thankful for living in a wonderful state, the ability to have a fantastic meal with my husband and the anticipation of our first little one, due in February!

Katie Donohue says …

I am very thankful to have a healthy and very happy 19 month old son and a loving, supportive, and hardworking husband. I am thankful that we are able to provide a loving and stable environment for our son to grow and thrive in. I am also thankful that we are able to afford to eat wonderful organic food that is good for us and the earth. :)

Siobhan says …

My father passed away this February, making last year's our last Thanksgiving with him. It means so much to have the memory of sitting with him on the couch while the family all sat around and caught up after dinner. In fact, he leaned over to me and said "We're so lucky to have everyone together this year. Who knows how many more we'll all have?" He was referring to my elderly grandmother, but it was more accurate than he could have known. I'm so thankful that we managed to all be together.

Kendall says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for is one that is shared with family who is supportive and filled with unconditional love. Both of which I have and I am very blessed.

Kristie DeLoreto says …

Thanksgiving has become a holiday that will always be special to me. Two years ago, I gave birth to my third healthy baby boy by C-section on Nov. 17th. All was going great until Nov. 24th when I began to hemorrage at home while only with my infant and 4 year old at home to help me. So many people saved my life that day. My 4 year old will always be my hero for picking up the phone after I fainted while talking to my doctor and telling her that mommy was hurt. The rescue responders for rushing me to a hospital with the largest blood bank not knowing that I would need 12 units of blood transfused. My nurse, Kate, who took incredible care of me that day and who has remained a lifetime friend and important person in my life. My husband, parents, in-laws and family for taking care of my babies while I fought for my life. My sister-in-law for cleaning up all traces of my hemorrage before my older son got home. And all the incredible doctors and nurses at Salem Hospital who did all they could to save my life and succeeded. Although I needed a hysterectomy at age 31, I owe everything to the doctors who came through for me that day. This thanksgiving I am so thankful just to be here. You never realize how much you put your body through when you give birth until something like this happens. I realize that everyday is a blessing and that life can change in an instant. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and remember to count your blessings every single day.

Lynn Ferguson says …

The first Thanksgiving after my Mother died of Cancer was at my aunt's house. My Father and his 'date' declared at the end of the Dinner that they were leaving for Las Vegas to get married the next day. No one else in the family had any clue this was happening until that moment. I am astonishingly grateful for this Thanksgiving, because it allowed me to appreciate all of the previous Thanksgiving Dinners with my Mother and the rest of our family with no surprises. It was the first time that my Father did not confide in me, but I treasured the company of my family and my prospective family members (Traute, John Jay, and Shirley) who were the children of my future stepmother. I vowed that day to never let another Thanksgiving Dinner go by without remembering and appreciating my family...alive and those who had died too young. When I began eating a macrobiotic, then vegetarian diet; I would take fantastic dishes to Thanksgiving Dinner at friend's homes when I wasn't hosting my own Dinner. But then my partner and I began to invite those who had no one to share Thanksgiving Dinner with by bringing them into our household and feeding them for a day while building friendships for a lifetime. Not one Thanksgiving Day has gone by that I have not feasted on the beauty of family, friends, and community!

Eva says …

I have spent my last five Thanksgivings on the East Coast away from my family in Ohio. Those Thanksgivings have been pleasant: spent with my boyfriend's family, roommate's family, alone, etc. Working in retail makes me really appreciate the "calm before the storm" that Thanksgiving represents. I am excited to say that this year my mom & sister are coming to New Jersey for a "girl's Thanksgiving" and I cannot wait to play hostess to a new tradition!

Marsha says …

My daughter was born on a Sunday before Thanksgiving and was immediatedly admitted to neo-natal intensive care. The Drs. said she would be there at least 2 weeks. The next day they said she was getting better and would be there about 10 days. The next day they said 1 week and I went home without her. Then on Thanksgiving Day (the next day) when we visited her we were told she could go home tomorrow. I am so thankful for the prayers of God's people, His healing her little body so quickly and for my lovely daughter who is turning 25 this Thanksgiving!

Jess Torres says …

I am thankful that I am healthy and alive. I'm thankful for being blessed with 3 beautiful and healthy daughters and 3 beautiful and healthy grand-children.

Michelle H. says …

Every year my husband and I host a "Misfit Thanksgiving". My family does stuff elsewhere and since I love to cook, we invite all our friends who either have no place to go or would rather not go. My 82 year old grandmother only has me and my sister. She has not been able to attend my thanksgiving because I live on the second floor. However, last year, she decided to come. She climbed the stairs slowly and got up there okay. We had 20 people show up to my little apartment and even my best friend who lives in London and was visiting her family, came over. It was the best Thanksgiving ever for many reasons, but mainly because people I love dearly and I never get to celebrate Thanksgiving with came to celebrate it with me.

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