When we think of Thanksgiving Day, delicious food, football and getting together with family and friends come to mind. The original purpose of Thanksgiving was to show gratitude and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Now as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we can get caught up in making the meal and table settings perfect and looking forward to Black Friday shopping. We tend to forget all about stopping to give thanks for our blessings. Put the thanks in Thanksgiving by involving the whole family in volunteering, donating, and spreading kindness.
Try these great ideas to teach your children graciousness and goodwill this Thanksgiving. And don’t forget — you can use these ideas all year round!
- Organize a collection drive. Ideas include coats, hats, gloves, snow boots, socks, blankets, toys, books or clothing to donate to those in need.
- Fill the food pantry. Take the kids shopping for favorite nonperishable food items to donate to a local food pantry.
- Offer to rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor or friend.
- Fill shoeboxes. Operation Christmas Child provides gifts for needy children overseas.
- Bake cookies for friends and neighbors.
- Send care packages, cards and letters to soldiers overseas.
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
- Clean up litter in your community, including school grounds or a local park.
- Collect donations in lieu of birthday party gifts.
- Create care packages for those who are homeless.
- Draw pictures for or visit residents in nursing homes or assisted living.
- Create busy bags and activity packs for the local children’s hospital.
- Donate outgrown baby items to a women’s shelter.
- ake treats and cards to thank first responders.
- Put together birthday party packages that include cake mix, candles, plates, napkins, and a few decorations and donate them to the local food pantry.
- Adopt a family for the holidays.
- Donate craft supplies or board games to a local youth shelter.
- Collect and donate toiletries and feminine hygiene products to a local shelter.
- Donate blood. (For those over 16 years of age.)
- Sponsor a child living in a foreign country as a family.
Let us know how your family puts the “thanks” in Thanksgiving!