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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

Nancy Velasquez says …

I moved here to New Mexico a year and a half ago for school and live with my dad who retired. I am thankful that my mom and sister are going to come here for thanksgiving and we will have a chance to spend it together. I love my family and am grateful for this time.

Robyn says …

I'm thankful that I've been able to spend nearly every Thanksgiving with family! I've especially enjoyed Thanksgivings during which I was able to include friends who were far from home/family in my family's celebrations :)!!!

Nancy R. says …

I am grateful every Thanksgiving, but the most memorable Thanksgiving for me was the first Thanksgiving after our beautiful twins came to us and my family all flew in so we could be together for such a special and wonderful occasion.

Debra C says …

I am most thankful for this years Thanksgiving. Last year I was layed off of my job and for 7 months I couldn't find any work. We were barely scraping by and we thought for sure we would lose our farm. In January I was able to get a job and we were able to save our farm. So this year we are especially grateful that our family is safe and that we have a home and all of our animals do too!

Ashley says …

I am most thankful for Thanksgiving day in 1980. Without that day, I wouldn't have a chance to be thankful for my blessed life everyday.... for that was the day I was born!

Janice Winnick says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving when I was a single parent and my children went with their dad. I didn't have famiy close by and money was tight so couldn't travel to see them. My friend called and said, we want you to come share our dinner with us. I was so thankful to not have to heat a microwave turkey dinner that I cried. the simple gesture was more then I could handle at that time. I never told her I was going to be by myself, she just thought she would call and offer the invite. sometmes that is all one needs to know they truly are blessed with friends.

Barbara Moore says …

We had gone through such devastation and heartache this year as victims in the Bastrop Fire. To have been shown such kindness by the community and Whole Foods is something I cannot put into words to reflect how appreciative I am for everything we have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Ernesto says …

I am thankful for having a supportive family and group of friends. Im also thankful for having the ability and desire to further my education.

Jill says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving my mom forgot to make the mashed potatoes. It all started out great. Dinner was coming along nicely. We were having about 25 guests that day. My mom had toyed with the idea of making instant mashed potatoes, but my dad put his foot down on that one. I was just a kid. But I remember helping my mom peel about 5 pounds of potatoes and cut them up to be cooked. They were in water, in the pot, ready to go. Somewhere in the chaos that is dinner prep, they never got cooked. As the buffet was set and people were making their plates, my dad approached the gravy bowl. He looked around. "Where ... are the mashed potatoes?" Silence. Poor mom. At first she looked perplexed. Then it dawned on her. The potatoes were still raw, in the pot of cold water. It was not the best Thanksgiving ever. It was not the worst Thanksgiving ever. But a Thanksgiving did not go by after that without my dad asking, well in advance of dinner, about the mashed potatoes. My dad died almost 11 years ago. To this day someone in the family makes a point to inquire about the mashed potatoes. (Oh, and that pot of potatoes did get cooked later that day. We were eating mashed potatoes for days.)

Laura says …

3 Thanksgivings ago, my husband and I were serving overseas. We had no family even on the same continent. We were invited to a lovely family's home where they spoiled us with a huge spread of delicious food. We were so thankful to get out of our lonely apartment, enjoy wonderful conversation, many laughs and enitrely too much home-cooked food.

Kathryn says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for will take place in two days. I will share it with my family quietly. This year there is a new niece by marriage to a great nephew and a wonderful young woman who may be my daughter in law one day will join us, too. Our family hasn't always gotten along as we should but things are better. I'll settle for better. Our family is growing. And hopefully we are as well.

Kari says …

I am very thankful to have my family to spend Thanksgiving with every year -- and that we all get along! :) I am also thankful for my health and that we have the means to provide a healthy meal.

Laura Lewis says …

Ths thing that I am most thankful for this year is the ability to enjoy another Thanksgiving with my mother. My father passed away recently and my older brother and his family just moved across the country. Even with the ones we love gone in one way or another my mother and I are still together this year. Though her health has changed and she is not able to do some of the things she is used to for the holidays. But I am thankful that we are together and that we are able to share the cooking duties this year. I am just thankful for another year with the person I love the most, my mother. We will start new traditions this year together.

Ava Romero says …

i am thankful for all the people in my life have give me, my passion for cooking, i am a foodie with love and enjoy cooking all year round, im thankful for having a best mom i ever had, so thank you

Teri says …

I am thankful that Thanksgiving is everyday, and we choose to celebrate with our family and friends on a calender day selected for us. I choose to celebrate it everyday with great food and wine found at Whole Foods.

Ming Chan says …

I am thankful for my family for being there when i need them the most. thank my dog for cheering me up when days are awful. Thanksgiving is a time to gather and a time to be grateful for each other company. I am happy for that!

Lori says …

I am thankful for the opportunity to read such lovely entries! In particular, I am moved by Kim Lenhart's and Kimberly Vosbaugh's stories of Thanksgivings past. Each one speaks to me of the gratitude I have felt at one Thanksgiving or another and highlights the love, generosity, compassion and inclusion that we all seek. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Shannon Aten says …

This year I started my first business venture. I am astounded at the amount of support I received from not only my friends and family, but from the community, friends of friends, other businesses, and even strangers. From those that helped me build my company website and logo, to the strangers that helped fund my startup project on kickstarter, to the local businesses that helped promote our name, and to my faithful customers that come to see me every day, I am so very thankful to everyone that has made my entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Eileen says …

I am thankful for this Thanksgiving and being able to be with all my children.

jenna says …

Sometimes the best things do come in small packages. Ok, so it wasn't a great time in my life. My family was a little split, you could say. But my brother lived by with his wife and my husband and I headed over for a quaint, but tastey dinner. Sometimes you don't need at the glitz and glamour around you to enjoy special times between family... even just 4 of you. Feeling comfortable with loved ones and sharing a meal can really be a great and wonderful thing.

Jean says …

I'm most thankful for this Thanksgiving and have been looking forward to it all season. As a new empty nester, I miss my two college age boys terribly and can't wait to have them both home safe on Wednesday. I'm so grateful to have two healthy, happy sons thriving in their new lives far away...but I'll be even more grateful to have them under my roof again, even if it's only for a few days.

Heather Connor says …

This Thanksgiving I m thankful for the sacrifice of my dadin the military. He is serving so my mom will spend thanksgiving the my family (grandkids are a great distraction). I am very thankful for the technology that will allow us to talk to him as well.

Melissa Van Groesbeck says …

I am thankful for all of the 42 Thanksgivings I have shared with friends and family. However, one particular Thanksgiving, in November of 1987, I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotion and thankfulness. I was a freshman in college, it was a Saturday night in early November and I enjoyed a football game and concert with my best friend. Getting in late, we turned off the ringer to my phone so we could sleep in on Sunday. When I woke up and turned my ringer on, the phone rang immediately. It was my younger sister, calling to tell me that my Mom was in a very serious car accident the evening before. The guilt rushed over me... I had an incredible evening and turned off the ringer on my phone! The next few weeks I watched my Mom try and recover from her injuries. She had broken bones all through her body, she was bruised and swollen. I remember thinking that I always thought she was invincible until that accident. I had to help shower her, comb her hair and clean the house. It was that Thanksgiving, with my Mom in a wheelchair in the kitchen that I was beyond thankful. She gave me direction on cooking the dinner, pointing things out and teaching me how to make her fabulous meal. I was so thankful she was alive and able to direct me so that the meal was still "hers". Not only did she teach me how to cook the most beautiful meal that day, she taught me that life is precious, embrace it, and enjoy every day you can with your family.

Danielle says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving 15 years ago when my husband and I were in grad school. We planned on going home for the holiday but his professor assigned a take-home final over the long weekend which crushed everyone's plans. Instead we decided to host our own holiday meal for all the other grad students who now would be working hard instead of going home. It is a tradition we have kept ever since!

Blanca says …

This year I am most thankful for the insight I have gained dealing with my mother's illness: Alzheimer's. I spent a long time not believing that my mother could possibly be afflicted with this terrible disease, then I was angry at the whole situation, and then little by little I let acceptance take hold. All of a sudden my heart opened up and now although she can no longer speak in recognizable words, I see that love has a way of reaching everyone. Even those who have lost their ability to think or remember.

Laurie P says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for is this one right now. We have had a wonderful year filled with so many blessings....finally being able to purchase our first home, welcoming a new baby into our family, a healthy & joyful 5 year old, a steady job for my husband. We will be spending thanksgiving with my family & look forward to spending as much time as possible with my 95 year old grandfather. We are truly blessed!

Peggy says …

It's hard to choose just one, but what pops out in my mind is the Thanksgiving 2 months after my husband, Neil and I were married. My Mom & Dad hosted my husband and me, and two other siblings for Thanksgiving. At one point, I was in the kitchen helping my Mom with last minute details, and she said to me with a big smile on her face, "Honey, I'm so happy I feel like I'm dreaming!" Sensing what she was so happy about, I said, "Why, because of me and Neil?" She replied yes... She was beaming! Just like she was at our wedding 2 months earlier. You see I was the last of her 8 children to get married, and I was 42 when I finally did. My Mom never hid the fact that she worried and prayed for me to me Mr. Right. Mom died unexpectedly 6 months later. As grateful as I am for my husband, I'm especially grateful that Mom got to know him and died knowing that I'm happy.

Ginger says …

Our youngest daughter moved 950 miles from home upon graduating from college. It was an exciting experience until the holidays approached. She was determined to be independent and decided not to come home. At the last minute she realized she would spend Thanksgiving Day alone and as we were instant messaging I was heartbroken for her. Her phone rang and a lovely lady she had met invited her to join her family for a Cuban celebration on Thanksgiving. My heart lifted, her spirits were high and 9 years later I'm still thankful for new good friend in Florida.

Linda Alice says …

Thanksgiving 1976 found my husband and I in Memphis, TN without any of our Yankee families nearby. We loved turkey, so cooked a 22 lb bird, all the trimmings and after dinner wondered what we would do with all the food. Being young and in Memphis, the following night we had tickets to a Lynard Skynard concert with friends. After the fabulous show, hungry and satiated with great music, we invited all back to our little apartment. There we ate turkey legs and stuffing in our chilly kitchen. I still remember Ricky bellowing "It's cold enough to hang meat in here!" as he polished off most of the leftovers!

Katherine Klemin says …

My precious daughter was born 28 years ago the week before Thanksgiving so that year was an especially memorable one. But just recently, in fact just a week ago, I was offered a place to live after renting a room from a generous and gracious friend for 2 years. An acquaintance heard that I was looking for a cottage to rent and made me an offer I couldn't refuse! The beautiful cottage is in a lush setting with beautiful panoramic views - providing far more than I could have ever known to even want - and an answer to my prayers down to the smallest detail. You can be sure Thanksgiving 2011 will be remembered for years to come as the Thanksgiving "a little slice of heaven" was provided for me! God is so good and faithful!

Patricia B says …

I am most thankful this year that I will be with my two children who are home from college safe and sound, and also that my brother and sister and their families will all be at my house together. This past August my dad passed away unexpectedly and since then, my mom's Alzheimer's has progressed rapidly and she doesn't know who we are any more. It will be an emotional gathering, but one that will give us all the support we really need right now.

Lori says …

I am really looking forward to this Thursday as I will be at work with the residents in the Alzheimer's unit in an area nursing facility. My husband is coming along to help out and we will be cooking Sweet Potato Pies. We are going to have a great time!! Our family and friends will visit us on the following Saturday to enjoy our holiday feast. It seems that I will be grateful for both opportunities to spend time with all the people that mean so much to me:)

Meilie Moy-Hodnett says …

This year I have even more than usual to be thankful for. My mother has just returned home from 198 days of hospitals and nursing homes surviving an aortic dissection in April. We could have easily lost her that morning but her fate was to be in the hands of some excellent emergency and medical personel. She is learning to walk again and her spirits are high and we will be enjoying our gift of life richer than before. In celebration of her new lease on life, we will move in together and be a re-united family so I can make sure my parents receive the best care possible, as the nursing home is not for those you really love.

Christy says …

To date, I am most thankful for Thanksgiving 2010. 2010 was a very eventful year for us. My husband returned home safely from Afghanistan just after our fifth son was born, we purchased a new house that is big enough for all seven of us, and paid off almost all of our debt. We also hosted Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family in our new home.

Jen Maldonado says …

The Thanksgiving I'm most thankful for was in 2006. My family and I had been in Colorado for over a year. We had settled down in a new apartment and were doing much better all around. My oldest child had been diagnosed with autism two years prior and was considered to be on the severe side. We didn't have the money to get fulltime therapy that she needed, so her dad and I worked with her, we educated ourselves and did everything we could to help her. On Thanksgiving of 2006, our daughter had said her thanks for the first time,it was tradition to say it before we started eating our meal. She was five years old and we were told she would never speak when she was first diagnosed. She said she was thankful for her food. It was awesome and we were extremely happy. What a great thanksgiving that I will always be very grateful for.

Erica Stokes says …

The Thanksgiving I am most thankful for was just a few years back. I was 30 years old, a rape victim (who decided to keep the baby), and alone, far away from all of my family and most of my friends. Many people told me I was crazy for keeping the baby, but I kept having vivid dreams of my baby girl to be and I knew she had to be with me, no matter how she came about or what happened to me. As mentioned, I was far away from home living in San Francisco and didn't have any family or many friends there. Thankfully an old friend of mine happened to be living in Oakland (nearby)and invited me to Thanksgiving at her place with many friends. The laughter I shared lifted my spirits. I was in a pretty dark place at that time so the laughter was something I was so thankful for. I shared with my friend that I was 3 months along and the love she showed me, and the support she offered me will stick with me forever. I'm sooo very Thankful for that love and support. That was the last Thanksgiving I spent "alone". Ever since then I've had my girl with me and she is SUCH a blessing. I'm so thankful for the decision that I made to keep her and for the 3 wonderful Thanksgivings I've had since then with her, family and friends.

John Kim says …

I was told many times over and over how truly lucky I am. I, on the other hand, I failed to believe this and continued to live my 'miserable, resentful' life. However, when my back was pushed up against the wall, I took a step back from the driver's seat and just let my life unwind like a film strip. This is when I realized the times that I took for granted was truly a blessing in disguise. It was clearer than ever before. To be honest, I'm not here to win this gift card. I could care less. I happened to stumble upon this and I thought I could take a few minutes to share my love and appreciation for my family and friends. With that said, to my family and friends, I TRULY appreciate what you have done for me. You guys have been an essential part of my life and I will NEVER forget. Thank you!

Giovanna says …

The Thanksgiving that I'm most thankful for is last year's thanksgiving — when I married the love of my life! We eloped in Las Vegas, and had our very first thanksgiving by ourselves, just the two of us, and celebrated our marriage. Most Thanksgivings are filled with family (lots of family) which we love, but it was so nice to have a special day just for us. This year, we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with our families again - and celebrating one year of happy marriage!

alli l says …

Im most thankful for thanksgiving of 2011. With the past 7 years, my immediate family and I have not all been together in one area because of schooling and other circumstances. This Thanksgiving I am able to catch a flight home to surprise my family and Im looking forward to cooking up some delicious treats with my mom. The past year has been a rough one, personally and for my family with unexpected passings and whatnot, so Im really excited for relaxing quality time with the family. Cheers.

Jan says …

I'm most thankful for this Thanksgiving that I still have a house to live in, although I lost my FT job 2 1/2 years ago. I am glad for my part time job and that I can spend more time with my son.

Kim Patterson says …

I am most thankful for the Thanksgiving of 1997. It was to be the last Thanksgiving I would have with my husband who died of cancer in 1998. It was a fun time. We were at his in-laws in Virginia and there were a lot of people. There was friend turkey, oyster dressing and all kinds of other goodies. I had never experienced food like that before.

Shelli C. says …

Two years ago my husband and I decided to host a true family Thanksgiving. We invited our entire family to come to our home for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. My sister and nephew flew in from Tennessee. My parents came up from California. My aunt, uncle, cousins and grandmother were unable to make the trip from CA. My husband's brother, sister-in-law, nephews, cousin, aunt and uncle could not come in from back east. However his parents and grandmother came. We had 13 people for our dinner. Little did we know it would be grandma's last Thanksgiving...we had a traditional meal, with some Jewish elements thrown in to honor my husband's heritage. It was a true blending of families for the first time in our marriage. Everyone still talks about that special holiday and how much it meant to have everyone gathered together. I don't even remember the work involved to make all the food. I remember the love we felt in our home and the overwhelming feeling of gratitude for family.

Margaret Fehrenbach says …

The one I now will always remember was the one my mother and father gave me when I visited them one summer many years back in their Florida home. Yes, summer... They felt bad after they moved to their permanent retirement/vacation home away from all their six kids and assorted spouses and their kids. So when any one would vist, out came the turkey bird, stuffing, and yams with cranberry sauce. The works! Even with the heat, I ate it and funny, it was all the flavors of home and then some. So next time you say hey let's not do this or that concerning the Holidays-remember what it is all about- family and love. Miss you Mom and Dad. Your Peggy.

SD Linda says …

I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. One year ago my husband fell on the tennis court and fractured his skull in three places and was in the trauma unit then ICU for a week. He was then transferred to a week in patient and 3 months outpatient therapy in a special rehab unit for brain injury at Scripps Encinitas. During his 3 weeks in outpatient therapy we were fortunate to have wonderful friends at the Tierrasanta Tennis club who drove him to rehab 5 days a week so I could go back to work part time.He was released, came home for a month and had a heart attack. He was then told that the fall he had on the tennis court was V-tach which is called "sudden death." Unfortunately everyone was so concerned about his head injury that they missed the heart problem. He went back in the hospital and an ICD pacemaker was installed. He is now doing wonderful and completely healed thanks to lots of prayers, positive thinking, family, friends at Tierrasanta Tennis Club, neighbors and great medical care at Scripps Green and Scripps Encinitas. This is my most thankful Thanksgiving because I have been given back my husband. We live every day to the fullest. By the way, he has "died" almost 6 times in our 25 years of marriage and just keeps living. God has a plan for him to stay with us for as long as possible.

anne kaplan says …

All get-togethers with friends and family are memorable ! One that comes to mind is when my husband and I were teaching in Brazil. Brazilians do not celebrate Thanksgiving. We had to teach that day. So, a few days before we bought a big roasting chicken at the market and cooked it Wed. evening. Four other American teachers joined us for dinner and brought some of the fixings. It was interesting--even had black beans and rice. And, the most important thing was the feeling of community and a feeling of connection with our families back in the states.

Robin says …

I am grateful for waking up each morning! What the day has in store for us is beyond my control...so I am simply grateful to open my eyes and see what surprises it holds.

Susan Swyt says …

My first Thanksgiving in Japan, I searched all over Tokyo for a turkey, to no avail, and finally came home exhausted to our warm apartment, sweet spouse and kind neighbors and realized I was concerned about the wrong thing.

Tracy says …

I am thankful this year because even though this year has been full of a mound of medical bills and repair issues on my house I have had people encouraging me along the way. I am in the middle of a divorce from someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with also and around the holidays it is really hard. My kids and my family and friends have been instrumental in keeping me in check so I do not fall into loneliness and depression. I look around at all I have and am thankful for a roof over my head, kids who love me and friends who I love more than they are aware. At 48 years of age I am learning to love life and not take anything for granted.

Robyn Landis says …

Last Thanksgiving was only a few weeks before I moved from Seattle to Tucson after 25 years in Seattle. I was excited to be making this long-dreamed-of move--so ready for sun!-- but very sad to be leaving my very, very dear family-tribe of closest pals in Seattle. It was an amazing Thanksgiving week, with a freak snowstorm in Seattle that had it feeling very holiday-ish and wintry indeed. We had TWO Thanksgivings--on Wed night we cooked our usual Tofurky, sweet potatoes, sides of veggies, cranberry muffins--all with organic ingredients from Whole Foods, of course (at my best friend's house a few blocks from your Roosevelt store!) We drank organic wine and toasted our friendships and my odyssey. The next day, we did something we hadn't done in 15-20 years of Thanksgivings together--we went out! We went to Carmelita, a luscious upscale vegan restaurant in Seattle that was having a prix fixe Thanksgiving feast. It was gorgeous and festive, and we even brought in my big beautiful white American Bulldog, saying she was a service dog. The awesome staff at Carmelita didn't even blink, and Simone was so good lying quietly under the table at the bright warm restaurant. We laughed and ate and drank and talked and took pictures and it was a beautiful sendoff to my new life in the Southwest. I will never forget that Thanksgiving, and look at the photos this year with fond warmhearted nostalgia. This year, I am cooking my first Tucson Thanksgiving--with a load of the usual ingredients, this time from your Speedway store! I could never live in a town without a Whole Foods...

Janelle says …

November 24th, 2009 my father received a kidney transplant. He had been suffering on dialysis five years prior after losing failure of his kidneys due to polycystic kidney disease. This disease runs heavily in my family, majority of which have it including myself. Every thanksgiving I am grateful for his life and the lives of all my friends and family.

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