November 13, 2009 : Ana Brooks
Thanksgiving is known to most as a time to enjoy as much turkey, stuffing,and pumpkin pie as possible, play backyard footbal, and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And though we enjoy our time with family, sometimes we leave out the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving, so here are 5 ways you can express your thanks and give back this holiday season.
1. Spend time as a family giving back to the community.
Communities often host soup kitchens, Thanksgiving dinners or fall festivals. Call up your local community center or Google your town to see if there are any opportunities to serve, then grab your family and head out with helping hands. If you cannot find something that your community puts together, make up something on your own. Try making little gift baskets for businesses or people in the hospital or nursing home and hand deliver them.
2. Invite someone to dinner.
Though most people enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with only family and close friends, this is an awesome opportunity to make a new friend! Invite someone who may not have a family dinner or maybe someone who just relocated to the area and does not know many people yet. Even check with local colleges to see if they have a list of international students you could invite over. Better yet, invite people from your dorm to go home with you for the week!
3. Take dinner to someone.
Do you know a widower who seldom can leave his house or a family who has fallen on hard times? Maybe inviting them to your house is not their thing, so take Thanksgiving dinner to them. Help your mother out in the kitchen and just make a double batch of everything. Pack up half of the meal and take it over to their house. Or pick up double the ingredients when shopping for a Thanksgiving dinner. If you are not sure what ingredients to buy, ask the Thanksgiving dinner cook in your house. Put it all in a nice basket and personally deliver it to someone in need.
4. Give thanks to your family.
It’s true, sometimes it’s harder to appreciate and love those closest to us; however they are often the ones who need our appreciation the most. This Thanksgiving write letters or make sure to verbally thank those who have had an impact on your life. Some families often go around the dinner table and name something they are thankful for. Or you can spice it up with an “encouragement box”. Take an old shoebox and write “encouragement and thanks box” on it and explain to family members that for the next few days they should write encouraging words or thanks to other family members. At dinner, pass the box around and have each person pull out a piece of paper and read it out loud. However you do it, make sure to appreciate your family this Thanksgiving.
5. Take time to thank God.
Though it is important to thank you family and appreciate people you may not even know, the one who should be receiving the most thanks this holiday season is God. Though you may be in a routine of thanking God everyday, take some extra time this Thanksgiving to thank him for who he is and what he has done in your life. Make a list of “Blessings in 2009” and write out all of the blessings you have received from God in the past year. Spend some time in prayer thanking him for each blessing. Start doing this every year so that you will always have a reminder of God’s goodness.
Well, there you have it - 5 ways you can five thanks this Thanksgiving. Pick one or all five to participate in and see what a blessing you can be to others this Thanksgiving!
- Ana Brooks