The difficulties facing us this Thanksgiving aren’t lost on anyone. Thanks to a world and holiday season drastically changed by a global pandemic, we’ve had to limit our traditions or completely change them this year to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we’re experiencing is how “un-celebratory” Thanksgiving feels this year. Yet Thanksgiving itself has been shown to combat the stress that comes with it because of how much gratitude is infused into the celebration of it. So if we will still practice gratitude (and there is always something to be thankful for) in spite of our current difficulties, there’s still hope for a meaningful and joyful Thanksgiving.
One of the best ways to express and practice gratitude is by doing good to/for others, and by giving back to our communities. This Thanksgiving, we can still personally and/or professionally donate to charitable causes and/or volunteer* our time in service to others.
It’s one thing to be grateful; it’s another to give thanks.
Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” –Tim Keller
To practice Thanksgiving this year, here are some ideas for giving thanks, giving back, and reclaiming your holiday joy this holiday season:
- Donate money and/or supplies to a local food bank. Be sure to contact them to find out their guidelines for doing so during the pandemic.
- Give to a charity of your choice, especially those providing food and/or other assistance to those in need during the pandemic.
- If you feel comfortable volunteering in person, ask a local food kitchen or shelter (or Meals on Wheels, etc.) if they need in-person help this year.
- On the personal side, volunteer to go grocery shopping or run other important errands for a neighbor or friend who may be at risk or elderly.
- Consider a few friends and family members close to you that could use your help this holiday season. Perhaps they’re social/physical distancing due to age, compromised health concerns, a new baby, or other challenges. No one wants to feel forgotten or alone, especially during the holidays.
During this Thanksgiving season, doing good for others can play a big role in helping us to keep going through this challenging season and beyond. We’re that much more likely to remember our blessings when we give ourselves and our generosity in the service of others.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May we find special meaning and fulfillment in loving our neighbors as ourselves this holiday season.
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*A reminder that some food banks and other organizations may not be accepting physical donations or in-person help this year due to COVID-19, so consult with them on the best ways to help.