I got an e-mail today from an early education teacher in New York who is looking for some good Thanksgiving songs for a preschool performance. When I read the e-mail, it dawned on me that, unlike just about every holiday and notable event of the year, I couldn't think of one memorable Thanksgiving song that jumped out at me. I remember the crafts we made at school (a lot of turkey-themed things and pilgrim hats). I remember Thanksgiving performances where we dressed up like Pilgrims and Indians and recreated that first Thanksgiving feast. But I have no memories of singing Thanksgiving songs at school, or listening to Thanksgiving music at home on Thanksgiving day. For such a large holiday, that's odd.
When I started looking around for Thanksgiving songs online, about 65% of the "Thanksgiving" songs I found were about turkeys. Another 10% about pumpkins.
It's tough to write a Thanksgiving song, in part because the concept of truly giving heartfelt thanks, something I think a a lot of Americans genuinely feel on Thanksgiving, is difficult to capture with lyrics. Also, it's a very personal thanks we give. Some of us are thanking God, some thanking our family/friends/some thanking Mother Earth...we all are giving our own personal thanks. It's not easy to capture that.
Here at our school in Tokyo, we celebrate Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc. Thanksgiving....not so much. A big part of that is that Thanksgiving is not easy to explain in a way that gives people a feeling for what the holiday is really about.
After some searching, looking for a song which would be lyrically and melodically simple enough for a preschool performance, but not reduce Thanksgiving to just a day where we eat turkey, I came across this suggestion at www.preschooleducation.com (a great site for song ideas for very young ones):
Thanksgiving song Sung to: "Twinkle, Twinkle little star"
Thank you, thank you, very much
For everything that I can touch.
Thanks a lot for nature’s food.
And for when I’m feeling good.
Thank you, thank you very much.
For moms and dads and friends and such.
I like the simplicity there, though I wish we could get deeper while keeping it just as simple (we need to channel Fred Rogers!).
I'm afraid that's the best I can do for now, but I'll keep looking and maybe try to write something simple. In the meantime, anybody out there have any favorite Thanksgiving songs?