Ten Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving More Meaningful
Although Thanksgiving is often reduced to food and football, there’s much more to consider at this special time of year. Gratitude has so much to offer—not just you, but also to everyone you come into contact with.
Why not embrace the true spirit of the holiday by adopting a new tradition that highlights thankfulness and giving? Here are ten ideas to try this year:
Share the bounty with those who are less fortunate.
Donate some much-needed items to your local food bank or soup kitchen. Non-perishables like canned fruits and vegetables, rice, cereal, soup, and peanut butter are always in demand. You could also contact the facility to find out what specific items they need the most.
Invite someone who doesn't have a place to go.
There are so many lonely people in the world. Perhaps your co-worker recently got divorced and has nowhere to go this Thanksgiving. Maybe your elderly neighbor can’t afford to visit her family in another state. If you hear of someone who plans to spend the holiday alone, invite him or her to your home. After all, Thanksgiving is about connecting with each other.
Collect and distribute pet supplies.
Animal shelters are always in need of food, toys, litter and other supplies. A week or two before Thanksgiving, create and distribute flyers and collection bags throughout your neighborhood. Gather up the donations and drop them off at your local Humane Society or shelter just before the holiday.
Create a gratitude basket.
Set out a basket, paper and some pens. As your family and friends arrive, invite them to write down two or three things for which they are especially thankful this year. After the meal, unwind together by reading aloud these special notes of appreciation.
Host a potluck of meaningful foods.
Ask your guests to bring something to dinner that’s personally significant to them. Whether it’s a prize-winning sweet potato pie or Grandma’s secret stuffing recipe, your Thanksgiving table is sure to be an array of delicious, meaningful treasures. At dinner, ask each guest to share the story behind his or her dish.
It may be tempting to shoo folks out of the kitchen and do it all yourself, but this year, adopt a new strategy. Give everyone a job for helping to create the Thanksgiving dinner, even if it means a bigger mess. You can always assign clean-up jobs, too. Everyone likes to feel needed and that they’ve contributed to the meal.
Save a turkey.
Every year in the U.S., more 300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter. This Thanksgiving, why not have a more compassionate celebration by adopting a turkey instead of eating one? For example, the Adopt-A-Turkey Project allows donors to sponsor a turkey for a one-time gift of $30. Tofu turkeys are a delicious vegetarian alternative. Or, serve up a large assortment of delectable and filling side dishes.
Send gratitude notes to those who can’t be with you.
Receiving a note of love and appreciation is sure to be a welcome surprise for loved ones who are far away. You could also call them on Skype or send an e-card, if you prefer. The goal is to connect with your family and friends on this important day of gratitude.
Serve something unexpected.
Why not expand your Thanksgiving Day menu with some unusual dishes? You don't have to give up the turkey or sweet potato pie to integrate different fare into your meal. Look back in your own family’s history or to other cultures for tasty, interesting ideas.
Thanksgiving is a great time to give back to your community and help those in need. It’s also one of the richest and most rewarding customs you can incorporate into your family’s holiday. Research local volunteer opportunities in your area and choose one that’s personally meaningful.
Gratitude isn’t meant to be expressed just once a year.
Research has shown that people who purposefully take time to be thankful are happier and healthier. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to kick your gratitude up a notch and set the stage for making it a habit all year long.
At Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, we are thankful for the trust and confidence you place in us. May you be abundantly blessed this Thanksgiving. If we can be of service to you in any way, please contact us.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.