"Throw a Thanksgiving Auction" by Martha Wild King, M.Ed.–October 2019

Thanksgiving is a wonderful North American celebration.   Our Canadian friends celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, while the US celebrates it on the fourth Thursday of November.   In both countries, however, it  is a time to give thanks for all God has done, and a great time to celebrate with family and friends. And a fun addition to this holiday is to host A WILD THANKSGIVING AUCTION.

                                           A  Flash Back in Time

Now, when my husband, Michael, and I lived in Belgium  in the 1990’s,  we hosted an American Thanksgiving  for folks from Italy, Germany, Belgium,  England, and the US.   It was an eyeopening event for both of us about not only how much food we Americans would pile on our plates, but also about watching those new global friends enjoy our sixty-year-old  family tradition of  A WILD THANKSGIVING AUCTION.  Here is how.

                                          An Auction History

As with most things  dear to us, ‘the auction’ was begun by my ancestors–my maternal grandmother Mabel.  Mabel and her husband Henry lost everything in The Great Depression, including their son.  Yet Mabel’s constant saying was, “It could be worse.”  She lived to be 101.  Thus, with that upbeat attitude, every holiday was a celebration, and Thanksgiving was no different.  But at the end of the meal, she would uncover the coffee table upon which would be many treasures: A clear plastic box with a silver dollar in it; some small toiletries which she picked up from her stay at a hotel; or some other purchased treasure from the Five and Dime Store that she knew one of us four WILD children would want.

                                              How to Do an Auction

Thus when my offspring began to grow, after the Thanksgiving meal, we’d gather in the living room, and I’d unveil the treasures I’d found from  The Dollar Store or Good Will.  Everyone would be given 30 pennies in a paper cup and I’d start the bidding.  The only rules for A Wild Thanksgiving Auction were and still are:

#1.  Everyone except the auctioneer should bid–adults and children–because you can’t keep the pennies.

#2.  No sharing of pennies (Adults cannot hand children monies).

#3.  After one wins the item, then the correct amount of pennies must  be put into the basket passed to you. (That basket pass accomplishes two things: The children learn to count out their pennies, and it employs the ‘honor system.’ )

                                                 Why Is It Fun?

So if you’d like to do something NON-ELECTRICALLY different this year after that Thanksgiving feast or for any celebration (this activity was great for kids birthdays),  try throwing A WILD THANKSGIVING AUCTION. Watching those Europeans bid for the first time was so delightful because the adults got into it as much as the  children did.   Your family will thank you for this old, new, enjoyable tradition  which doesn’t cost hardly anything to pull it off.  Just a little Thanksgiving forethought.

2 Maccabees 10:38 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) 38 When they had accomplished these things, with hymns and thanksgivings they blessed the Lord who shows great kindness to Israel and gives them the victory.  

Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less