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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

Mariana says …

I'm thankful cause I'm from Argentina and this is going to be my first thanksgiving ever and I will spend it with my husband.

June Ferris says …

This year. My dear brother-in-law is still with us. He was diagnosed early this year with incurable cancer which seems to be spreading quickly. We feel blessed every day but especially on this holiday of his birthday. He is a funny guy who finds humor in the smallest of things and enjoys the love of many. And his brother and I believe in miracles!

D Ferst says …

I have never forgotten my experience with the true meaning of being thankful and giving where needed. I was a 20 year old volunteering at women's shelter on Thanksgiving. There wasn't enough food for everyone. We all were deeply moved by the plight of these women and decided to pitch in money and purchase enough food to feed everyone. We all felt great no one went hungry that day. That good feeling was short-lived - I had accepted an invitation for Thanksgiving leftovers at my landlord's home. I blurted out my lack of rent along with apologies and a promise to make good on the money. To my surprise they decided to "donate" my next month's rent to the shelter under the condition I never "donate" my rent again! A $50 gift card will make a world of difference to the needy. I would be grateful if Whole Foods will donate, if I win, the gift card to a Chicago women's shelter.

Melissa says …

I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. My husband, four children and I will be traveling to FL to see our parents. We haven't seen them in a few years and this past year in particular has been a hard one for all. Both my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather passed away. My father in-law has been battling liver cancer since the summer. Through it all we have put our faith in God, that He is in control, and that we have never come out of a challenge weaker, always stronger. Though we have experienced the loss of loved ones, it's made us appreciate this time together even more. My father in-law is in remission and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to spend the holiday with him. Time seems to be our most precious gift this year.

Melanie says …

Right before Thanksgiving 2 years ago my dad had an organ transplant. I know that Thanksgiving was difficult for the donor's family since they just lost a loved one, but it made my Thanksgiving so much more meaningful. I'm thankful someone chose to become an organ donor so my Dad can spend many more Thanksgivings with us.

Erick McGraw says …

The Thanksgiving I most remember was in 2005. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was sent home to be with the family as there was little that could be done for her. My brother and his family made a long trip to be with the family as well. Friends, family and neighbors made their stops at the home on that special Thanksgiving day to spend a few minutes with mom. I so vividly remember that day being so very different than any other Thanksgiving. The reality had time to set in our hearts yet, we were so very thankful that we had the time to spend with her and share, not letting one minute or word be wasted. Mom passed away a few weeks later, just before Christmas. What a blessing but oh, how we miss her!

Veronica Myers says …

I am thankful that I can have all of my friends over to my house for thanksgiving, and thanks to stores like WholeFoods, I can accommodate the vegan and the gluten free friends that I have.

sarah says …

This Thanksgiving I am particularly grateful that I will be reunited with my family after 12 years.My father will meet his grandchildren for the first time. We will have a real family holiday all under the same roof. For that I am very grateful.

Angela says …

This Thanksgiving is the one I am most thankful for. It will be the very first year that my boyfriend's family and my family can all sit down together for dinner. I get to cook the meal for the second year in a row, and host the meal in our beautiful new home for the first time. This year I spent many hours devoted to learning about nutrition, and have just begun my journey on the path to health. Whole Foods has helped me in providing recipes, reliable information, and nutricious food for my family. I plan on serving a healthy Thanksgiving dinner to my family. I am simply grateful for the opportunity to do that.

Cecilia says …

I am most Thankful for the Thanksgiving tradition practiced for many years at the skilled nursing and rehab facility at which I worked. On Thanksgiving, our kitchen would serve the traditional meal to all the residents and family members who were also welcome to attend. Following dinner, a grand dessert buffet was available. There was entertainment and a great feeling of family. Our facility was part of a large heatlh system and employees, executives, volunteers, spouses of our volunteers and children of our employees would all spend time together making this one day a memboralble family eperience for those who spend the rest of their lives living apart from whatever family they had. It made me very thankful that each day, I was able to leave that facilty and spend time with family.

Debbie says …

I am thankful for my childhood Thanksgivings that my mom worked so hard to cook for us kids, my dad and her dad, brothers and sisters. I was not appreciative then, because I just didn't realize the pleasure she got out of feeding us all. I now know the hard work that goes into preparing and the syncronizing to have it all hot and on the table. She did this single-handed. I've tried, and I can't pull it off like she did. Mom has been gone for 3 years now and I miss her holiday dinners so much!

Krista says …

I'm very thankful for the last Thanksgiving I had with my mom. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, because I love spending all day cooking with my mom. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2004, and by Thanksgiving 2005, had greatly declined. I am so thankful for that particular Thanksgiving because we knew it would be our last together. She did pass away just a week later.

Melissa says …

I am tremendously thankful for this Thanksgiving. My husband and I have had a rocky last year and a half. We are now doing much better. I am thankful that we were able to move past our issues and keep our family together.

scoop123 says …

In 2003, half a world away from home, my husband and I adopted our first child, in China, and celebrated with Chinese food (what else could we do... lol).

Shelley says …

My family....the nourish my soul.

Trisha says …

I will never forget Thanksgiving at my mom's, 2006. It was the last Thanksgiving we spent with my dad. He had major surgery right before and was able to come home in time for Thanksgiving. We were so excited but didn't know he would pass away 12 days later. It was a very special Thanksgiving with warm memories. I miss him every day but I will always be, "Daddy's Little Girl!"

elizabeth says …

I am so thankful for my husband and son. We are happy and healthy and that is truly all that matters.

Deborah Mann says …

I am thankful for every Thanksgiving, but especially memorable was the year that my mother taught me how to make her cornbread dressing. She never had a "recipe" written down... it was all in her head. It was the last Thanksgiving we would share, as she was suffering from cancer. She was in Hospice care at home. So while I worked in the kitchen, Mother rested in the living room in her hospital bed and told me each step to make the dressing. I wish all of you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving with the ones you love!

Doriann says …

I am thankful for being able to spend the last four thanksgivings with my wonderful husband. Being that I live 3000 miles away from my family, I am not able to make the trip home. My husband and I have been able to make the day special for the two of us (but we always make way too much food!)

Betty Sakers says …

I am most thankful this year for all the goodness in my life. Thankful for the freedom that our military grants us. I have always spent thankgiving with my family including my parents. This year will be especially sad as my dad passed away in March. But I am grateful that we had 92 years with him. He will be sorely missed this year, but I know that he is in a better place. He used to make the dressing for our turkey and mom can't find the recipe. We will surely miss that. We love and miss you dad.

Len says …

I cherish each thanksgiving but I would have to say this upcoming thanksgiving is the one I am most thankful for. I have survived the loss of my parents and a painful breakup with my son's father and have come full circle only to understand my true strength-I am so blessed and still standing. I always have had a passion to help others and recently joined a nonprofit organization called the Circle of Friends located in Oakland, CA which is a substance abuse treatment facility. Working there, i feel like I have won the lottery. Being able to inspire and motivate people to live positive lives, free of substance abuse and violence and seeing our clients eyes light up when they walk through the door knowing they are safe and have the opportunity to earn a second chance at life is priceless. I will be asking our clients what are they thankful for, which they will share with everyone on at thanksgiving, I can't wait to hear the answers!!! As for me, I am thankful to be blessed with (sometimes people say I have) a gift, courage and strength to reach out to people by inspiring them to live their best lives and the opportunity to be in service to humanity by encouraging an individual, a family, a community and eventually society. Thank you for this opportunity and happy thanksgiving to the Whole Foods Family!!!!!!

Pam says …

It was Thanksgiving of 1987 when my grandmother was still alive. I remember her saying a prayer, the prayer that she had prayed in many previous years. I never thought this would be her last. With all family present, holding hands around the dinner table, my grandmother said her infamous prayer thanking God for having her family surrounding her as we were ready to partake in such a wonderful meal and if it were her last, at least she would've enjoyed it with all the people she truly cared about who loved her dearly. It turned out to be her last meal with family because mere months later, she passed away of cancer. It was my most memorable Thanksgiving and one that I will never, ever forget and will always cherish.

Shontell says …

I am so thankful for the opportunity to host Thanksgiving at our home this year. We have a family of carnivores and unhealthy eating habits, but this year we will add collards from our garden and a bunch or two from wholefoods to supplement and whole grains while still preserving the tradition with turkey (free range that is).lol

Veronica D says …

This year will be the most important and best memory. My fiance had a stroke on Nov. 2nd this year. He is recovering remarkably fast and well. He is now walking with help. I know we will all give thanks that he is recovering and that our lives are changed forever with this medical event. Thank you for life.

Faith Whitacre says …

Last year I worked on Thanksgiving day for the first time in my life. I was a steward on a boat and at the time we were in shipyard. We usually had our meals in a makeshift dining room in yard, with a blue tarp above us, plastic picnic tables, and rather good dining for such a set up. On Thanksgiving our Hotel Manager had a fellow stew help her set up the plastic tables with a full dining room setup; wineglasses, lights. So after a shorter than usual day (only 7 hours not ten! :) ) we all came in our hard hats and dusty coveralls for a Thanksgiving meal like no other with the overall blue glow of a plastic tarp roof. I enjoy that memory and am thankful for the experience.

Stephanie says …

I am most thankful for this coming Thanksgiving because we are in a new house in a town that we love and my entire family seems to be getting along. No drama. No crazy (yet). This is going to be the best Thanksgiving ever.

Ira K says …

I'm always awaiting Thanksgiving! I love that the holiday has a meaning & purpose & not "just a day + barbecue" sort of thing! While I'm thankful for most - I enjoyed the one I spent in TX in 2001 w/ Bahai faith family who taught me a tradition I will introduce to my son one day. I'm also thankful for past 2 Thanksgiving Day's!!! During one I remained a strong person under dire & serious pain + pressure & the latter one - was my 1st Thanksgiving as a mom b/c I remained strong during Thanksgiving prior!!! Two thousand nine - was a hugely trying year- but 2009 & 2010 - I grew more than in all of my entire life!!! I'm thankful I chose life for my child eventhough the challenges in small community & being a single mom!!! I'm thankful that in the end I didn't have to give up my baby for adoption - and - for even if I did have to - for would have given purpose for my pain & joy to a couple who had all but biological blessing of having a baby!!! That was complete opposite of what I had, but still it felt more humane than the other option w/ the pressure!!! I'm finally thankful for my son & his & G-d's ways of teaching me to accept him & love him & be in awe of him & how much my life changed, but how true to self I've been able to remain!!! It's financially tough & 1st year was even more so b/c of no chi

Mary says …

My proudest holiday moments are remembered fondly by me, when my then 4 yr old son, who always was in the habit of gettin up early, around 4 am., to see this gigantic turkey in the laundry wash tub get dressed for Thanksgiving. He'd be accompanied by his paternal Grandma, 4 Aunts & Uncles and his 8 cousins, along with his own 2 sisters. We were a young family just starting out with the purchase of our first home, a prefab; lined with dark brown plywood, with swinging open windows. I can remember the huge cord running from the garage through my kitchen window to the 2 oven stove that held our prize delicacies. We did not have much, but since no one else owned a home, we were at least grateful for what we did have, and that it could be share by those who gave me one thing I did not have any longer & that was family!

Jessica S. says …

I am wholly thankful for quality time that is shared with family. I am thankful for a break from school. Most graciously, I am thankful for this year being the first thanksgiving shared with he who is now my "husband." life is good.

Sarah Sullivan says …

After 10 years of chronic pain, a horrible quality of life,three surgeries on one week and nearly half of my spine reconstructed I am so thankful to my surgeon and my mom. My surgeon changed my life and my mom took amazing care of me. This is going to be the best Thanksgiving I have had in years. I am truly blessed.

Esther says …

There are many things I am thankful for. This year I am most thankful for the way life has gone this year. If you had told me a year ago I would be celebrating my first Thanksgiving married and celebrating the completion of my masters degree I would probably not have believed you. However, that is exactly what is happening. I am the most blessed woman and I have the most wonderful husband who has been my love, my life and my support, especially through the last few months. I am thankful I have life, and a life I can say that I love.

camila says …

My mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in April of this year. She has completely recovered by the grace of God & wonderful doctors. Every year she cooks thanksgiving all on her own for our family but this year we have ordered our entire meal from whole foods so that my mom will not have to cook and can just enjoy the moment with her family. this will truly be the best thanksgiving ever! (AND I'm 4 months pregnant!) :)

Jannet Ostrowski says …

We going to have a nice thanksgiving get together at our house with both my husbans's and my family members. We ordered a ready to cook turkey from whole foods, so it should be very tasty. Also I'm very thankful, because in a few weeks, our baby boy will be arriving.

Angela says …

I'm thankful that my parents send me homecooked Asian food for a Thanksgiving spent watching movies alone in an empty dorm.

Lori Redman says …

After living overseas for 13 years and celebrating Thanksgiving with our friends, we had returned to the United States in eager anticipation of our first family Thanksgiving in many years. My father's whole family gathered as they had for many, many years at a cousin's house in Pennsylvania. Depsite cramped quarters, the house was overflowing with love, happiness, and amazing food. This was a great chance to re-connect with family after such a long time away. Now that I have been living on the West Coast for the last four years, I am thankful for that Thanksgiving celebreation and the two others that followed with my family.

robyn says …

Hi Whole Foods. I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving 2 years ago when my nephew was born. Because my sister had just given birth (Nov. 16), she wasn't up for going out or the hussle and bussle of the usual thanksgiving. So my family went to her house, and we brought over food we had ordered from Fireside. Although nothing was home cooked, the food was delicious and it was such a treat spending time with her newborn and other child. It was particularly memorable because we were so grateful for her to have had a healthy child, but also because family never felt more meaningful than when you have a new addition. We just truly felt like a real family, all together. For the first time, there were no family squabbles because none of that was important. And you realize how good it felt to just be together, to be loved and accepted by each other.

Barbara Balik says …

This thanksgiving is the thanksgiving I am most thankful for. I have a single mother with her 2 boys living with me since Oct. I am grateful for her in my life.She brought life back into my home. She loves to shop at Whole Foods for organic products for her children and this $50.00 would be a wonderful surprise for her! I am grateful for my health energy great memory I am grateful for my family and all the people I love I am grateful that this thanksgiving I can share my home with someone who could have been homeless. I am grateful for abundance of good things happening for all of us.

Jacqueline Green says …

The Thanksgiving that I am most thankful for is the one that we are about to have. I am grateful that my family is still alive to fellowship and eat with me and Praise and thank Jesus for it all!!!

Dolly says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for will be this year's dinner. After 19 years my entire family has reunited here in the States from Cuba and I am looking forward to giving thanks with all of them during this holiday!

Susan Bradfield says …

This year I will be sharing Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in 3 years. I had a job that required me to be in DC until this year. I think that this year will be one of my favorite Thanksgivings and I will truly cherish the time with my loved ones!

Susan Bradfield says …

This year I will be sharing Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in 3 years. I had a job that required me to be in DC until this year. I think that this year will be one of my favorite Thanksgivings and I will truly cherish the time with my loved ones!

Christi Ream says …

I'm most thankful for this year's Thanksgiving. . . . . . because my son's broken leg won't require surgery. . . . because our health is good overall, and none of us has cancer, diabetes, or a myriad of other possible problems that many friends and family members are struggling with. . . . because even though our house has not yet sold after 6 months on the market, we are secure in our home, unlike the thousands of homeless or other people who are displaced from foreclosure or other problems. . . . because both of us still have our own parents around to celebrate the holiday with us and our children. . . . because we will have more food to eat than we know what to do with, and because our pantries are always full and not barren like many who struggle to feed their families. . . . because we have a happy marriage and love each other deeply,and we work on putting God, family, and work in that order on a daily basis. . . . and because we live in America, where we are protected daily by men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line so that we can sit safely in our warm homes, without too much fear for anything other than our favorite team losing a game on Thanksgiving day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Don't forget what YOU have to be thankful for EVERY day of the year! :) ~Christi

Amanda says …

Our most memorable and one for which I'm most grateful was the Thanksgiving of 2006. After fighting for her life in the hospital for a month, our infant daughter, Meredith, lost her battle and went to heaven to be with the LORD at the end of August. Our friends, the Simmons, invited us to their home that Thanksgiving and my husband and myself and our two young children had such a sweet, memorable, time that really helped heal that wound and help us to regroup as a family. The ability to have made a sweet, happy, family, memory by means of the help of their family, was a blessing that we won't ever forget!

Lisanne Huber says …

I am especially thankful this year, because my husband just came home after a year deployment to Iraq - We had originally thought it would be in time for Thanksgiving, but he arrived a week earlier than expected! I'm thankful to God for keeping him safe, and I'm thankful for all those who are still there, sacrificing their lives (and time with their families for the holidays) to keep us all safe.

carrie sandelin says …

I am most thankful for my friends. I moved out to California from Minnesota and am not able to get home to be with my family every holiday. This year my boyfriend and two other couples celebrated Thanksgiving together, it was so amazing and meant the world to me. Friends are just as important as family, thank you!

Kimberly Vosburgh says …

On November 13, 1990 my mother suddenly passed away leaving my father to raise two children: myself, only 8 years old at the time, and my 12 year old brother. I didn't really grasp the reality of things--a common trait among 8 year olds. However, it all came to a head the week before Thanksgiving when I realized how empty the Holiday would feel without my mother there. The traditions of making homemade place settings, setting out cornucopias, and coloring ridiculous 'hand'turkeys seemed to fall by the wayside that year. My father, determined to provide his family with a sense of normality, decided to invite some relatives to our house to celebrate Thanksgiving. However, deep in my heart, I knew there was a latent desire on his part to simply not be alone. Worried about preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 16 people, my father called neighbors and friends frantically asking them to share recipes and get tips on cooking. The day before Thanksgiving, as my father looked on the merge of a breakdown with all the responsibilities he had taken on , there came a knock at the front door. As we opened the door, there stood 5 'moms' from the neighborhood each holding a culinary imperative for Thanksgiving. Kathy, our next door neighbor and my mother's best friend, just smiled and said, 'Don--we thought you could use some help.' She proceeded to present him with a 40 pound turkey, 5 pounds of sausage and sage stuffing, 2 baking dishes of sweet potato casserole, 2 pumpkin pies, 2 apple pies, homemade rolls, and my favorite--green bean casserole. Time stood still for a minute or two. Finally, I heard a sniffle coming from my dad; this was the second time in my life that I saw him cry (the first at my mother's funeral). However, this time, it was tears of joy and gratitude--the kind of tears I don't mind. Now, looking back 21 years later, I realize that it's not the food that makes Thanksgiving (although I'm sure it doesn't hurt), but rather it's all the things for which we're thankful. Those 5 women saved our Thanksgiving that year, but also taught us the true meaning of thankfulness--something we will never forget.

Carol B. says …

I own a small janitorial service and many of my customers are elderly. I would ask them to join us for Thanksgiving, but they always declined. So if they wouldn't join us I decided that I would take dinner to them. On one such visit, my customer was just sitting down to bologna sandwich and chips, when I walked in with 3 plates of Thanksgiving dinner and he got up and threw the sandwich in the trash and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with me. I took him so much food he enjoyed it for 2 day. He still would not join us for dinner, but he looked forward to the holidays from then on because he knew that dinner was always on its way. Blessed to be able to understand the elderly and happy to do it.

Dan says …

That's a difficult question, since every Thanksgiving has something unique. Each year can bring new additions to the family in addition to an elder who may have passed. I am thankful each Thanksgiving that we have where we can all stop our busy lives to be together and to reflect on past holidays, and on catching up with one another. And of course eating all the great food!

Selena says …

Many years ago when our four children were young, my husband and our oldest son were on the road for my husband's business, I had food to cook for our other children but was concerned that my husband and son wouldn't be able to have a meal for two reasons: 1). They didn't know anyone in the states that they were passing through en route home and 2). They didn't have any extra money to go to a restaurant as the business deal didn't happen the day prior. When Thanksgiving Day came, they started driving and pulled over for gas. There someone invited them to the Salvation Army for a meal. How the conversation and invitation came about escapes my mind, but the fact is that at their point of need, they enjoyed a warm and abundant meal. They made it home safe and sound they next day, and the beginning of the week, the deal transpired! I was thankful of the hospitality of the Salvation Army and the humility of my husband to enjoy a meal with strangers and some considered to be societal outcasts. It was also our first and only Thanksgiving apart.

Elissa G. says …

I am thankful for everything that I have in my life... always! I appreciate the little things I observe each day. I can't choose one specific thing that I am thankful for, however I appreciate the clean water and access to food that I have everyday. I work in a job that helps homeless people have access to fresh food and I go home each night so thankful. I guess I would have to say the access that I have to clean, fresh water and food.

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