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thankful pumpkin, amy latta, thanksgiving
via Pixabay

Happy pumpkin season.

We celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. The big focus on that day is the massive feast, football and maybe a little talk about pilgrims and Native Americans breaking bread together.

But, aside from a possible prayer at dinner, are many people focusing on the most essential part of the holiday: being thankful?

Amy Latta, a mother and craft expert, noticed the disconnect between the holiday and its meaning in 2012 so she created a new family tradition, the Thankful Pumpkin. The idea came to her after she went to a pumpkin patch with her son, Noah, who was 3 at the time.

“We need to stop and focus and be intentional about counting our blessings. To help do that in our family, we started the tradition of the Thankful Pumpkin,” she wrote on her blog. “All you need to make one is a pumpkin and a permanent marker and a heart full of gratitude.”


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In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Amy and her family sit down and make a list of things they’re thankful for and write them on a pumpkin in permanent marker.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, the pumpkin is filled with thankfulness. Then, on the big day, it makes a great centerpiece that keeps the reason for the holiday in focus for the whole family.

"I was excited to get the project out there because it is so simple and requires no special skills or materials," Latta told Today Parents. "Anyone can do it, and I was excited to think about other families taking time to focus on gratitude."

In the 10 years since Latta came up with the idea, the Thankful Pumpkin has caught on around the country and people have been sending her photos of how their families celebrate the new tradition. “I’ve seen hundreds of photos of families, clubs, community centers, churches, and shops adopting this tradition, inviting folks to add their blessings to a pumpkin, a visual reminder of all the reasons we have to be grateful,” Latta wrote in an Instagram post.

Latta was really onto something when she decided to put the “thanks” back in Thanksgiving. Further, learning how to practice gratitude is one of the most important keys to happiness, so it’s wonderful that she's given us all a new way to practice it with our families.

Amy E. Keller, Psy D., says that practicing gratitude is wonderful for our psychological well-being.

"Experiencing gratitude activates neurotransmitters like dopamine, which we associate with pleasure, and serotonin, which regulates our mood," she told Verywell Mind. "It also causes the brain to release oxytocin, a hormone which induces feelings like trust and generosity which promotes social bonding, and feeling connected."

A decade after her little idea has caught on, Latta is grateful for the incredible response.

“I never imagined the little idea I had in my kitchen that day would encourage gratitude far beyond our four walls, and each year as I see it shared, I am humbled all over again to think that maybe it has impacted you too,” she wrote on Instagram. “Let’s be grateful together as we head into the holiday season. I’m so glad you’re here.”

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The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

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Trevor Noah says goodbye in his last episode of "The Daily Show."

Trevor Noah, who has spent the past seven years hosting "The Daily Show," has officially said goodbye to his late-night fans. While he could have chosen any note to leave on, he made his final words an emotional tribute to the Black women who have influenced him.

Since he took over the spot from Jon Stewart, Noah has made the show his own with a blend of quick-witted comedy and thoughtful commentary. Noah had big shoes to fill, but to his credit, he didn't try to cram his feet into them. He simply brought his own shoes and placed them right next to Stewart's, offering his own style of comedy and unique perspectives on the world night after night. Even in his "Between the Scenes" segments, where he chatted with the audience during commercial breaks, Noah frequently added insightful context to current issues.

In his final monologue, he credits those insights to his Black women mentors, from his own mother and grandmother to thought leaders he has had on his show to Black women in general. And it's quite telling that he managed to keep it together in his final show, right up until the point when he talked about these women.

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Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser for Variety's "Actors on Actors."

There are few actors in this world as universally loved as Brendan Fraser and Adam Sandler. So when the two sign on to interview one another, you can bet that people are going to be thrilled.

During one of Variety's “Actors on Actors” segments, the two swapped stories of being in the entertainment business—from the movie “Airheads," which they both starred in, to more recent projects like Sandler’s “Hustle” and Fraser’s “The Whale.”

It’s clear that these two respect and admire each other’s work. Sandler applauded Fraser’s career-long stride of making bold and interesting choices, and especially commended him for his starring role in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” which has been hailed as a major comeback for the “Mummy” franchise star.
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