Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! November is the time of year when many are awakened from the haze of life’s chaos, and consciously become aware of “being thankful.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about being thankful for what I have, but I truly believe the key to being content and happy in life is being thankful for what you already have ALL.THE.TIME. Not just in November, not just when you are sitting around the table with a big, fat turkey in the center of it, not only on the good days, but each day throughout the year.
We live in a culture that is consumed with everything. The so-called happiest people are those who have the newest cell phone, biggest house, fanciest car, nicest clothing, the most “stuff,” and beautiful children. Discontentment is abundant and contentment has almost disappeared.
When we compare ourselves to everyone else around us whether it is in what we have, what we do for a living, if our children are great athletes, or body size we are losing our joy and thankfulness and creating discontentment.
I’m going to let you in a secret. The secret is when we are truly thankful, we are more content. When we are thankful for what we have and are content using it to bless others, the contentment turns into joy! Here are some ideas on how to turn Thanksgiving into a day where the focus isn’t the turkey, football, and Black Friday shopping. The focus is on on the joy of being truly thankful for what we have and using that thankfulness to bless others!
- Send someone a handwritten note expressing your gratitude for something that they’ve done for you.
- Take meals to shut-ins.
- Volunteer to help serve a meal at the Salvation Army, Knights of Columbus, etc instead of cooking a big meal at your own home.
- Create a Thankful Tree. Decorate a tree and make leaves out of construction paper (or download free clip art and decorate) and write one thing each member of the family is thankful for on each leaf. It truly will be a beautiful tree when you read all of the wonderful blessings your family has when you are finished!
- Think of widows or others who don’t have family near by and invite them to share a meal with your own family.
- When you sit down to eat have a pretty piece of paper on each plate and a pencil where each person can write down something they are thankful for and share the answers around the table. Even very young children can participate in this!
- Have everyone bring something to make a package to send to soldiers overseas. Kids can contribute with drawings and letters!
- Compile items to take to an animal shelter.
- Collect items for a local food pantry and take them as a family
A few other ways to bless others around the holidays are:
- Instead of buying a gift on Black Friday, sponsor a child from Compassion International! My family sponsors a little boy named Luis from Honduras and my goal is to eventually be able to sponsor 5 children each year (the same amount I “sponsor” at my home!)
- Pack Operation Christmas Child boxes for needy children
- Find a local charity to donate new toys, toiletries, clothing, (Our church does a clothing drive in October for hats, gloves, underwear, etc for families in need. These are easy to find on clearance throughout the year!) and other items on their wish list
- Sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home and have your kids take them some special drawings or art pieces
Your Challenge: Find something to do this week of Thanksgiving to bless someone else as a family. I’d love to hear what that activity was and if it blessed your family as well!