Although my husband finds it cliche, I don’t consider Thanksgiving complete unless we go around the table sharing what we are grateful for. I love Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time to stuff our faces and share our hearts. Unfortunately, as we all know, not everyone has the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving with a full table.
The wonderful thing about gratitude, however, is that it naturally leads to a desire to give. When we focus on what we are thankful for, we feel inclined to give to others. I love the holidays: they bring out the philanthropic side in all of us. Despite the increased desire to give, we often find ourselves too busy or lacking ideas on how to do so. So, this Thanksgiving, I wanted to provide a few simple ideas on how to work as a family to serve and bless others. If you have other ideas, please share them!
FOUR WAYS TO SERVE THIS THANKSGIVING
1. Donate to a Turkey Drive: when you head to the store to pick up a turkey, why not pick up a turkey for those who don’t have one? There are hundreds of local turkey drives, and a quick google search will help you find one near you. If you don’t have extra shopping time, most of these drives also accept monetary donations.
2. Donate (or organize) a local food collection effort: If you’d rather not donate a turkey, you can certainly donate other Thanksgiving food items. A group of moms in my area is getting together to organize a huge food donation week. They are reaching out to vendors, looking for families in need, and asking the community to help. I’m hoping to get our Family Service Club involved in assembling baskets. My church also asks members to sign up and bring food to donate to local families for Thanksgiving. If you don’t have something like this in your area, why not start one yourself?
3. Pack a Thanksgiving box to send to the troops: I can only imagine how hard it is for soldiers to be away from their families during Thanksgiving. A box of nonperishable items might be just the encouragement they need. You can see my article on serving our soldiers for ideas on how to work with your family to encourage our troops, or check out AnySolder.com for instructions on how to send a box to a specific solider this holiday season.
4. Write cards of Gratitude: Even if your kids are too young to write, making cards of gratitude is a wonderful way to serve. You can help your kids decorate cards for their grandparents, friends, or other family members, or you can make Happy Thanksgiving cards and deliver them to your local senior center. This is so simple, but it can have a meaningful impact.
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks, by Margret Sutherland: Encouraging our kids to be grateful is a big deal. The more we can help them cultivate grateful hearts, the more empathetic and resilient they will be. Before I serve with my family this season, I want to focus on what we are thankful for. This book is a great way to start that discussion.
Daniel Tiger, Episode 14: I really enjoyed watching this with my kids recently. It was awesome to hear my 4 year old singing, “Thank you, for everything you do” to me after I made dinner. After watching this, you may want to start a similar tradition at your home.
THANKS FOR READING
Although my kids have their share of struggles, when I see them showing gratitude and love, it makes the tough times easier. This November, I hope to help them focus on both of those things. I’m still trying to think of creative ways to serve this season, so if you have other ideas, please share! Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own. Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.