What began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year, Thanksgiving has taken a bit of a new direction over the years. Thanksgiving has become commercialized, like most holidays inevitably end up becoming, we all eat far too much (guilty as charged right here), and at some point, football gets added into the equation.
Is there anything wrong with this? Not at all! For some families, they put their spin on Thanksgiving entirely. There isn’t a Thanksgiving rule book we all need to follow. But what if you want more out of your Thanksgiving this year? You may have always wanted to be more involved in your community, or remotely, but have no idea how to go about doing it.
Alone for Thanksgiving? I’ve been there, and it can be a bit of a drag. Some years I have been alone by choice, other times it was by circumstances, but regardless it is easy to fall into a funk. The good news about being alone is that you get to do whatever you want! You can completely get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
It doesn’t matter if you’re alone or have a house full of people. Here are six ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
The Homeless Shelter Directory allows you to find a soup kitchen, shelter, or food bank in your area. Give them a call and see if they are in need of volunteers to serve meals to the needy on Thanksgiving. If these establishments are at volunteer capacity, which happens this time of year, reach out to your local Churches or Community Centers to see if they are offering any volunteer opportunities.
Donate to Food Banks
I’m sure if you were to open up your pantry or cabinets in your kitchen you would be able to find one or two canned food items that you probably don’t need right this minute. Before you go packing up your entire kitchen, contact your local Food Bank and see what their needs are. In some cases, they are looking for non-edible items such as soap or toothbrushes.
Visit a Hospital
Remember that just because it is Thanksgiving, hospitals are very much open. Contact your local hospitals and see if they are accepting volunteers for Thanksgiving. Offer to distribute food, brings gifts, read to people, or simply sit and visit with someone who needs some company.
Find Amazon Wish Lists
Many non-profits have turned to Amazon to create a wish list of items that they need. Once you find their wish list, you just click and buy things the same way you would if you were shopping for yourself. Amazon then delivers the items directly to the non-profit you are supporting. You can search for wish lists on Amazon, or you can call the non-profit you would like to help directly and ask them if they have a wish list on Amazon.
Be a Layaway Santa
Layaway is still a service heavily used by people with a low income and less than desirable credit score. Next time you’re at a store, ask them if they offer layaway services, go to the customer service desk, and anonymously put money towards someone’s layaway bill. Spread the word to your friends and family so they can follow suit.
Just be friendlier in everyday life. When you’re walking, when you’re talking, when you’re driving. There is no need to be short or unkind to each other. You never know what someone is delaing with or going through and something as simple as holding a door open for them can be a game changer. Be the reason someone smiles.