As parents, teaching our kids habits of being thankful and of gratefulness today will go a long way into developing happier adults of tomorrow. This festive season is perfect for ingraining these habits even more deeply (which are most likely and hopefully already there) as part of something more regular than around Thanksgiving.
Here are 10 ways we can give thanks, to our family, friends, community, and more.
- Donate – this one is pretty simple and obvious; and you can donate to the cause that calls to your heart. Every little bit counts. You could also check out the Wishbook in your local community if there is one (our local newspaper publishes one every year and the online edition will be up Thanksgiving Day here) or other foundations like Make-a-Wish if you wish to donate online.
- Volunteer – at food banks, senior centers, animal shelters, and more. Do call ahead and check since most of these places have a volunteer list a mile long and you might need to put down your name for volunteering sometime from now. If you can get a group together to go along, it makes it all the more better in every way.
- Write a letter to someone you know – A handwritten letter or postcard still makes us happy, so write a letter to your parents, a relative, a friend, or even your kids! (Or if asking them to write, maybe they can write to a grandparent, a cousin, or their friend across the street too)
- Write a letter to a senior citizen – You can check out Love for the Elderly for information.
- Write a letter of gratitude to a soldier, a veteran, a first responder – You can check Operation Gratitude for how you can do this.
- Take a thank you basket to the local fire station or sheriff’s office.
- Do a RAK today – random acts of kindness seem to spur chain events of kindnesses often so you never know what that cup of coffee you buy for a stranger can end up at. But even if no chain is spurred, do that random act today and revel in that gooey feeling all by yourself…
- Say thank you – that is all there is to this one.. thank you to the newspaper delivery guy, that mail person who unfailingly drops off mail no matter what the weather is like, to the clerk at the checkout counter who has possibly been standing for hours. When I volunteer to serve food at my son’s marching band tournaments, all those kids unfailingly say thank you as we serve them and it always warms me up, inside out!!
- Smile and make someone’s day – Be the first one to smile and you can see spirits lifting up – yours and of those around you. A smile is magical that way.
- Make a card for someone – Here is one organization I enjoyed working with in the past. Get together a group of friends and make cards for hospitalized kids to show they are not alone, to help them get through their day. Make and pack and send out the cards to this organization (or others) and they will take care of delivering the cards to the kids.
- And one last one to make it more than ten – Shop – yes, you can give and say thanks by doing at least part of your shopping at organizations that give back with your purchases or at the charities themselves. This article at the Balance has wonderful ideas for the same. One local organization that I want to mention here is Inclusive World – they have a few items available (changes throughout the year) and you can check back to see if you find something you will love. You can check their mission here.