10 Blessings of a Country Thanksgiving

The 10 Blessings of a Country Thanksgiving

Posted by Catherine Seiberling Pond on November 17, 2022

Get inspired to count your blessings and your bounty with Catherine S. Pond's reflections on 10 blessings of a country Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday for many reasons, but mostly because it lacks any great commercial component — although it does have the unfortunate distinction of being the day before Black Friday. But you can entirely avoid the mayhem by staying home and savoring the afterglow of bounty and gratitude — whether with friends, family, or helping at a shared meal for those less fortunate.

If I had my way, Thanksgiving would be in mid-October, well before Christmas and just eking out Halloween, and around the end of the harvest season.

These two beleaguered holidays sandwich around our turkey in an orange-and-red vice of commercialism.

Who would’ve expected Halloween to now rival Christmas as the biggest holiday of the year? Give me Easter or Thanksgiving any day over these two.

For the past six weeks, I have been on-site for my job working at a literary organization out on the prairie in America’s heartland, observing combines in the fields and large trucks hauling the harvest down arrow-straight highways. It’s a different kind of autumn bustle and I can’t help but think of the first verse from “America, the Beautiful”: 

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

Writer Willa Cather wrote so beautifully about Nebraska and the Great Plains in some of her novels, including this excerpt from My Ántonia:

Out there I felt at home again. Overhead the sky was that indescribable blue of autumn; bright and shadowless, hard as enamel…and all about stretched drying cornfields, of the pale-gold color, I remembered so well…Along the cattle-paths the plumes of goldenrod were already fading into sun-warmed velvet, grey with gold threads in it. I had escaped from the curious depression that hangs over little towns, and my mind was full of pleasant things…

In a few days I will head east again across the prairie to the less exposed and rolling hills of our farm in Kentucky where I will nestle in at home for the winter.


HOME — a most beautiful word and concept that we can so easily take for granted — but a home place in the country? Never will I take this gift for granted. Every morning I look outside, no matter the weather, and just say a quiet “Thank you!” 

Our holiday season will be a bit more subdued this year, without all of the children here as they were last Thanksgiving — and now grandchildren — but we will still count every blessing (including our first three grandchildren born within a four-month stretch this year — and did I mention the grandchildren!?).

Come, ye thankful people, come, 

raise the song of harvest home; 

all is safely gathered in, 

ere the winter storms begin. 

So here are ten reasons to savor your own Thanksgiving in the country — wherever you may be:

1. You're Actually in the Country — Count Your Blessings Right There

If you are reading this, chances are you are seeking property for a country home or are already living in one. Thanksgiving is about many things but who doesn’t think about the season and harvest and bounty — which all translates into the countryside.

“Raise the song of harvest home,” right in your own back-forty.


2. You Can Buy Most Everything You Need for Your Thanksgiving Feast From Your Local Farmers

 Winter squash, pumpkins, potatoes, onions, apples, sausage, baked goods (if you don’t want to make your own!), even fresh turkey can usually be found locally in the country.

3. If You  Live in the South, Chances Are That You Can Eat Outside on Thanksgiving

We’ve done that here a few times when it’s been in the 70s — and it’s a great way to extend porch season, too! But a rainy, gloomy Thanksgiving has its own kind of tranquil magic, too.


4. You Can Take a Walk On Your Own Land After You Eat...

...and burn off those mashed potatoes…and then walk back home for dessert — preferably for a hearty sampling of PIE!

5. Be Grateful For the Food and the Farmers Who Provide It

Of course, these are universal sentiments, but they have a special meaning in the country.

6. Build a Bonfire on Your Own Land

Later, after the festivities, you can build a bonfire on your own land and enjoy it with friends, family and neighbors.


7. Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

You can go out the next day and cut down your own Christmas tree or drive to any number of tree farms within easy distance.

8. Be Grateful For Your Family and Friends

Friends and family might want to come and stay with you for the holiday, if only to embrace that Currier and Ives traditional experience in the country. So be grateful for your family and friends because through it all, they are everything.

9. "Hygge" Time In The Country

Thanksgiving begins that “hygge” time in the country where you don’t have to feel guilty for being indoors, unless you have farm chores to do. When you can cook and bake and create and craft and write— or dream about the seed catalogs soon to arrive in the mail after Christmas!

Those are all blessings right there and within the quieter months where you can pause to enjoy them.


10. "Gathered 'Round This Table"

I recently heard this beautiful song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, who has a farm in Virginia.

It says everything in word and song about Thanksgiving that I love, but mostly about the people “gathered ‘round this table”—whether here with us, or far, or no longer part of this earth, all whom I love and cherish with all of my heart.

Thanksgiving by Mary Chapin Carpenter:

Grateful for each hand we hold

Gathered 'round this table

From far and near we travel home

Blessed that we are able

Grateful for this sheltered place

With light in every window

Saying, "Welcome, welcome, share this feast

Come in away from sorrow"

Father, mother, daughter, son

Neighbor, friend and friendless

All together everyone

In the gift of loving kindness

Grateful for what's understood

And all that is forgiven

We try so hard to be good

To lead a life worth living

Father, mother, daughter, son

Neighbor, friend and friendless

All together everyone

Let grateful days be endless

Grateful for each hand we hold

Gathered 'round this table.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Free Download: How Country Life Makes Children Strong and Resilient


Catherine Seiberling Pond

Catherine Seiberling Pond writes about home, place, and rural life from her Kentucky ridge farm where her family moved from New England in 2008. She is also marketing coordinator (remote and on site) for the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska and says the combination of vocations and locales is the best of all rural worlds. Find more at CatherinePond.com.

Want more from our blog? Subscribe to Rethink:Rural here

Subscribe to get all of our latest content sent directly to your inbox, or contact us directly with any questions you have.

Subscribe Here