When you think of Thanksgiving, what comes to mind? Is it images of family sitting around a table together enjoying a meal? Friends going outside to play a rowdy game of touch football? Maybe even the smell of freshly cooked turkey coming out of the oven?
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate one another’s company in honor of a founding moment for our country. But even more than that—more than the food, football and friends—Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. It’s about recognizing everything we’ve been given, and appreciating it fully.
What’s the best way to show thankfulness? By giving back to others less fortunate. This Thanksgiving, remember the reason for the season by showing thanks through giving.
Invite a friend.
One easy way to give back on Thanksgiving is by recognizing friends who have no family nearby to spend the holiday with. Invite them to share with you and enjoy the holiday together. Some friends even go so far as to celebrate “Friendsgiving” by gathering all of their friends to spend time together and enjoy Thanksgiving as a family away from home.
Donate a meal.
This holiday season, many families can’t afford to celebrate Thanksgiving with a meal. You can change this by donating a meal to a local food program. Whether you donate cash, pitch in a can of cranberry sauce or buy an entire meal, you can help a family in need by showing thankfulness through giving back.
Volunteer at a kitchen.
If you want to take your donation even further, give to others this Thanksgiving through volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Hand out food to those without a home to go to, help those who are never served and hear their stories. When you give back by volunteering, you impact others’ lives and feel gratitude for your own.
Visit a retirement home.
Many elderly among us have few family members able or willing to spend the holidays with them while living in a retirement home. On Thanksgiving, show our elders you still care by visiting a home in your community and spending time getting to know those who live there. They will be grateful for your presence, and you will feel the Thanksgiving spirit in return.
Spend time at a hospital.
Many people aren’t able to go home and spend time with family over the holidays because they’re too ill to leave the hospital. But, you can make their day by spending time this Thanksgiving visiting them and acting as family. Not only will you help them enjoy the holiday, but you will lift their spirits more than ever.
Remember the troops.
Finally, don’t forget about the community members who are overseas on Thanksgiving fighting for our country. Try putting together a Thanksgiving meal package, write letters or give a donation to send to our troops overseas. For those military personnel who don’t have family members to celebrate Thanksgiving with, gifts from someone back home mean the world.
This Thanksgiving, remember the reason for the season by showing thanks for the wonderful opportunities in your own life. Give thanks by giving back, and see the impact you can make around you and toward those in need.