President's Message

Thanksgiving History, Traditions and Giving Thanks

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President Cathy Haut, DNP, CPNP-AC, CPNP-PC, CCRN

It is hard to believe that the holidays are quickly approaching, and Thanksgiving will be here in just a few days! The history of Thanksgiving, including the original 1621 meal shared by Pilgrims and Indians, has evolved over time and is full of interesting facts! Traditional foods for the feast did not originate until the early 1800s, 200 years after the first Thanksgiving. Abraham Lincoln first declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Buffalo, NY hosted the first “Turkey Trot” in 1896, and the Macy’s parade first marched down the streets of New York in 1924. In 1989, President George Bush first formally “pardoned” a turkey into retirement on a farm instead of consumption at a meal, and all presidents since have carried on this tradition!

These rituals, including all-day football viewing, play a large part in how we celebrate this holiday. More than 50 million people will watch the Macy’s parade this year, and a Turkey trot 5k is available in almost every town, many of them sold out! Thanksgiving is also one of the most traveled holidays of the year, as spending time and engaging in activities with our families is most important. We gather to give thanks for what we have in life, including our health and the health of our loved ones. For some of us, volunteering in a food kitchen or local church to provide holiday meals for those less fortunate is another annual activity and offers a chance to give back to the community where we live. 

Ultimately, the spirit of Thanksgiving is in the holiday name: gratitude, appreciation, gratefulness, blessings and prayer. As a family of pediatric-focused APRNs, we also have much to be thankful for: the families and children we are privileged to care for, our professional colleagues, and for some of us, the students we teach, precept and mentor. It is important to remember our colleagues at this time of giving thanks. NAPNAP offers you a number of opportunities to give back to your fellow members! You can take time to complete your Team Peds: Volunteers profile. It does not take much time to check the boxes to identify your experience.  In this way, you can offer your expertise to a committee, share your knowledge in an area of skill, represent NAPNAP to another organization or provide assistance in an area of need. Check out the Team Peds: Volunteers webpage for instructions on how to get involved.

Another way you can give back to your national organization is by donating to the NAPNAP Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to “support the improvement of the quality of life for children and their families by awarding and administering funds for advanced pediatric nursing education, research, clinical projects and special initiatives.” The Foundation primarily supports health care for children and families by providing scholarships for education, research and evidence-based projects. You can donate money to the Foundation, or consider donating an item for the silent auction held in the exhibit hall at the national conference, coming to Atlanta next March! In this way, you give back to your professional community and you may even benefit yourself!

All of us have something to be thankful for this holiday season! Consider giving back in some way!  I wish you all the blessings of Thanksgiving and lots of holiday fun with friends and family this year! 


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