There are alternative ways to spend Thanksgiving that will embrace the true spirit of the holiday. From volunteering your time, to including others in your celebration and other creative ideas, there are plenty to give back and show your appreciation for others this time of year.
Take a look at some of the best ways to give thanks on Thanksgiving.
1. Volunteer to help make the holiday brighter for someone less fortunate
It’s been said that giving is better than receiving, and volunteering your time on Thanksgiving Day is a good way to reap the benefits of the old adage.
From soup kitchens and food pantries to churches and Meals on Wheels, serving or delivering food to less fortunate families is a great way to spend a few hours on Thanksgiving Day. The time commitment may be minimal but it’s far outweighed by the benefits.
2. Extend an invitation to someone who would welcome the company
It’s never fun to be alone on the holidays. Whether widowed or single, orphaned or separated from family by geography, the prospect of celebrating a holiday by yourself is never fun.
Consider giving someone a much-needed respite from a solo holiday by extending an invitation for lunch or dinner. It may be a small gesture, but it could mean a world of difference to the invitee!
3. Make an extra meal to share this Thanksgiving season
The demands of the season can put a strain on households on a tight budget. This year when you’re planning your Thanksgiving feast, make a second one to share with a family who may may not be able to provide one for themselves. By fostering the festive spirit of thankfulness through a meal, you can brighten the holidays for others.
4. Make a donation
A component of thankfulness is sharing with others, and donations are an excellent way to achieve this. What’s more: it’s not just money that organizations are looking for. Donating gently used home goods and clothes to your favorite charity is just as important as cash donations.
5. Visit a nursing home or hospital
Patients in nursing homes or hospitals often face holidays alone in a situation that is trying at best. This Thanksgiving, take an hour or two and go put a smile on the faces of patients who are alone for the holiday. A kind or caring word, a sincere hug and a few quiet moments of conversation could be the difference for a patient between a lonely day and a feeling of warmth and goodwill.
6. Break out the crafts
Prepare to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness among the youngest members of your family this holiday. Set aside time to teach them even the simplest of Thanksgiving crafts like Pilgrim hats, cardboard napkin rings, turkey hands and pinecone placements. The children will be thankful for the art instruction, but they’ll be even more thankful for the quality time.
7. Help guests express their thankfulness
If you’re planning to host a crowd this holiday, allowing the guests to share their gratitude is a great way to give thanks on Thanksgiving.
A great way to encourage guests to really think about what matters most to them is to offer them cards on which to write the things for which they are most thankful.
Another way to get the thankful juices flowing is to create a Thanksgiving tree as a centerpiece for your holiday. Use cardboard or construction paper leaves in varying colors and encourage friends and family to take a leaf or two on which to write their thanks and wishes. By the time the day is over, the branches will be full of thanks and your guests will be encouraged to keep sharing.
8. Share your favorite memories
Add another level to your thankfulness by asking family and friends to share favorite holiday memories and stories. By remembering the past in a warm way and vocalizing the things that have meant the most, you and your family will find your way to a deeper state of gratitude.
9. Take all of the gratitude, and find a way to make a difference
After a day of sharing, use the memories and thanks as a starting point to help others. Be it family time or possessions, relationships or momentous occasions, use the items listed throughout the day to find creative ways to make a difference to others.