The history of Thanksgiving presents parents and teachers with a wonderful opportunity to explain the relevance of the Thanksgiving traditions in a contemporary context. In addition, an understanding of Thanksgiving history can explain the more universal human need to give thanks to a higher being for the good things in our lives.
Traditional Thanksgiving Themes
The story of Thanksgiving is a fascinating pastiche of human interest: it highlights the passions and aspirations that unite us as human beings, regardless of creed or background. Thanksgiving history is also about human endeavor and pulling together in times of adversity.
Historical Thanksgiving Plays
The ancient Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and Egyptians all had their own versions of Thanksgiving celebrations, giving thanks to the various deities that directed their lives. Today, Christians across the globe celebrate Thanksgiving with prayers, religious feasts, Thanksgiving plays, skits and other activities. Twenty-first century Thanksgiving activities vary from community to community, but all focus in one way or another on the importance giving thanks in a modern and turbulent world.
Modern Thanksgiving Skits
Engaging a young audience and holding their interest, especially with a historical theme, is quite a task! Teachers, Sunday school teachers, local community organizers and parents all understand how difficult it is to choose themes for Thanksgiving plays or Thanksgiving skits that will fire their kids imagination and encourage them to become involved in the true spirit of Thanksgiving. The solution is to choose a theme with contemporary relevance and to tailor the topic to meet the needs of a global and multicultural society.
Thanksgiving Play Ideas
Possible themes for Thanksgiving plays, Thanksgiving skits or other Thanksgiving activities include:
Human Endeavor and Triumph over Adversity: Action-packed Thanksgiving plays of the swashbuckling variety have universal appeal for audiences of all ages. When scripting this particular genre of Thanksgiving play, try to concentrate on the original Pilgrims hazardous sea voyage and subsequent battle with the elements both on land and sea. Draw parallels with modern day struggles for survival, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Human endeavor and triumph over adversity against all odds is a theme with which all age groups can identify.
Counting Our Blessings: Thanksgiving plays with a central theme of “counting our blessings” offer a real opportunity for each and every one of us to take time out to reflect and give thanks for the blessings we all enjoy in our everyday lives. If handled sensitively, this Thanksgiving theme can give fresh hope and perspective to those who are in need, lonely or simply feeling down.
Family Values: By following the Pilgrim”s example, other families, groups, and communities worldwide can learn how to pull together and support each other through adversity. When families or groups unite, they can become stronger than their strongest individual member. Teamwork during tough times is an enduring Thanksgiving theme that can be easily adapted in Thanksgiving plays and Thanksgiving skits.
Thanksgiving Plays for Families
Are you struggling to come up with topics for Thanksgiving skits that will appeal to all the family? The following scenario may help:
Re-enact the heartwarming story of the Abnaki Indian brave called Samoset who came to the rescue of the Plymouth Pilgrims on that famous day in Thanksgiving history, March 16th, 1621. Following a cruel winter, the surviving Pilgrims were weak, sick and dispirited. By some kind of providence, an English speaking Indian visited their settlement. He greeted the Pilgrims with the word “Welcome.”
The Pilgrims were confused and alarmed until the stranger explained that, although he was of Indian origin, he had mastered the English language by talking to English fishermen and crew members around the coast.
The following day, Samoset returned to the settlement with a fellow Indian called Squanto, who also spoke English. Squanto had picked up the language when visiting England and Spain. According to Thanksgiving history, the Plymouth Pilgrims would not have survived without the help of Squanto. He taught them how to cultivate the local terrain as well as which plants were poisonous and edible or medicinal.
The moral of this Thanksgiving skit is one of altruism and the generosity of the human spirit that transcends color, nationality or creed.
Other Thanksgiving Activities
The story of Thanksgiving is one of the most exciting sagas in the history of America. Revive the age-old art of spontaneous storytelling by reading or telling your kids the story of the Plymouth Colonys adventures at sea and how they came to settle on American soil:
- Emphasize the importance of harmonious relationships between natives and settlers.
- Ask your audience to give examples of how they can be kinder to those people fleeing religious persecution and political discrimination.
- Invite participation.
- Discuss the need for greater compassion and understanding on an international level.
- Above all, seize the opportunity to stress not only the importance of Thanksgiving Day but also its relevance in the twenty-first century.