19 Nov Ways to Involve Your Family & Feel Grateful during Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving isn’t all about the food, the displays, or holiday decorations. Thanksgiving is a special time to give thanks (hence its name…) and show your gratitude for the things you have been blessed with in life.
It can be easy to forget the significance of this holiday when we’re bombarded with billboards, advertisements, and stores emphasizing the importance of the big meal. But if you’re looking for some simple ways to get in the spirit of gratitude and make this holiday more meaningful for you and your family, you’ll want to try a few of these ideas:
Consider donating some of your household furnishings, clothing, and toys that you no longer use to a charity or other local organization. Donation centers like Goodwill, Deseret Industries, Savers, and The Salvation Army will happily take your unwanted goods. By involving your children and encouraging them to go through their own items, they’ll realize the importance of sharing their abundances with others, and understand how fortunate they really are. Depending on your financial circumstance, you can even donate money to some of these organizations.
Perhaps you don’t have any extra items around the house to donate, but you may have a well-stocked pantry. Donating a meal to a local family in need is another great way to help share the good and help feed a needy family. You might not think there are many hungry families out there, but in 2017, reports showed that 40 million people struggled with hunger in the United States, including more than 12 million children. Contact a local food bank or church organization to help you find where to donate your Thanksgiving meal.
Have you noticed a friend, or a neighbor, who is struggling? Maybe your neighbor is an older gentleman and is physically incapable of taking care of his yard. Or maybe your friend is a young single mom who doesn’t ever seem to get a break. Whatever their individual circumstance, try reaching out to find a particular need that you can help serve. Perhaps you and your kids could rake your neighbor’s leaves or shovel his walks. Perhaps you could offer to babysit your friend’s children.
Maybe you want to remain anonymous and leave a yummy treat (like our Sorbet Cream Pops) on someone’s doorstep with a note of appreciation. Whatever it is, remember to involve your family with these service opportunities. Service doesn’t have an age requirement, and it will be something your children will always remember.
You may be surprised to learn how many neat opportunities there are in your neighborhood to volunteer. Volunteering is an excellent way to understand the challenges and limitations others face, all while helping give back to your community. If you’re interested in volunteering somewhere, try contacting one of these local places:
- Homeless Shelters – Homeless shelters across the nation could all benefit from extra volunteers–especially during the holidays. No matter your skills, they’ll find a place to utilize you whether it’s cooking, serving food, teaching languages or other skills, counseling, tutoring, etc. Contact your local food pantry or some other local non profit organization where you could help.
- Retirement Homes – Many senior centers are full of wonderful elderly individuals who have a lot of wisdom to share from their life’s experiences. Volunteer to hang out with and play games with these fun loving people.
- Hospitals – If you’ve ever stepped foot in a hospital, you know how bleak and lonely it can feel, especially during the holidays. Some patients would appreciate someone to play a game with or even talk with to help pass the time. Several hospitals also have many needs. Consider donating blankets or stuffed animals to help out.
- Animal Rescue Shelters- People aren’t the only ones who need some help. There are hundreds of animals in the shelter that could use some extra love and attention. Take your kids to volunteer with you.
- Additional options to volunteer at might include a battered women’s shelter, a refugee center, food pantries, Habitat for Humanity, libraries, or even a local school.
It seems that nowadays all we ever receive from the postman are bills and advertisements in the mailbox. But think of how you feel when you receive a personalized letter or card in the mail? It’s a great way to brighten someone’s day, and to especially help those who may be feeling lonely during the holidays. If your kids can’t write yet, have them draw a picture. This is a quick, inexpensive activity that everyone is sure to love.
If you are up to it, consider sending a care package to soldiers. You can send basic necessities like soap, toothbrushes, deodorant, toiletries, etc. Of course I’m sure they’d also appreciate some yummy snacks like gum, hard candy, beef jerky, protein bars, and cookies. Support Our Troops lists their specifications for sending over packages.
No matter how big or small the act, you can guarantee that everyone will feel the spirit of gratitude with these fun ideas. From all of us at Jolly Llama, we wish you a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving!