Higdon: Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate blessings and family with gratitude

14th District State Senator

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 — When I think about Thanksgiving, the traditional family gathering for a turkey dinner comes to mind. But this season brings other traditions that also contribute to the fabric of this great state—and nation.


Thanksgiving has endured since the time of the Pilgrims. It started as an impromptu gathering of Pilgrims and Native Americans to eat and hang out, according to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. All understood what a good thing feasting was, so the first Thanksgiving participants brought what they had—game, fish, squash, and cranberries. The Pilgrims could officially give thanks to God for not starving to death in the New World and for the guidance of the Native Americans who taught them to farm.

While Thanksgiving was celebrated after that, Thanksgiving wasn’t declared a national holiday until Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln made it so in 1863. According to the Smithsonian, the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving became part of the American tradition in the following decades. It was taught in schools as a matter of history. It was now part of our national identity and being.

Thanksgiving, rooted in the historical gathering of Pilgrims and Native Americans, serves as a reminder of the principles of gratitude, unity, and sharing. In the spirit of this holiday, let’s not overlook those in need, especially as winter sets in. In our abundance, there’s a chance to make a meaningful impact in the lives of our neighbors facing hardship.

During our celebrations, let’s not forget about those in the military, courageously serving our country. Many of them will spend the holidays away from their loved ones. Their sacrifices are a testament to the values we hold dear.

As we gather for hearty meals, football cheers, or simple moments together, let’s—at least briefly—set aside political differences. Reflect on the faith that sustains us this Thanksgiving, remembering strength is rooted in humility.

I encourage you to shop locally this holiday season. Beyond the convenience of finding unique gifts, it’s a meaningful way to invest in your community. Local businesses aren’t just stores; they’re the backbone of our neighborhoods, reflecting each community’s individuality. Choosing to shop locally supports our neighbors and the prosperity of our local economies. It’s a small action with a big impact, fostering economic resilience and nurturing our town’s distinctive character. Make a conscious effort to explore local shops, ensuring your holiday shopping brings joy and strengthens community bonds. This year, there’s no shortage of “Kentucky Proud” products and items to make perfect gifts under your Christmas tree.

I wish you and your loved ones a blessed, happy, and safe Thanksgiving.

Congratulations to Governor Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqulyn Coleman on their re-election. I also want to congratulate Auditor-elect Allison Ball, Agriculture Commissioner-elect Johnathan Shell, Attorney General-elect Russell Coleman, and Treasurer-elect Mark Metcalf, as well as Secretary of State Michael Adams on his re-election. The swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 12th allows for the peaceful transfer of power in various statewide offices. It formally gives the “power of the people” to the person who has been chosen to lead the Commonwealth of Kentucky and our 5 constitution officers.


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