Thanksgiving: Time for Service and Gratitude


Happy November!

{Also known as that in-between time when skeletons swap out for Santas at a lightning-fast speed, and suddenly every store you enter has the holiday songs on full blast.}

Admittedly, I’m a little rigid about my holiday timing- I don’t want a pumpkin in the house before October, and I only start on peppermint mochas after Thanksgiving. I think my irrational scheduling of holiday celebrations comes from an appreciation for Thanksgiving.

The hustle and bustle of the December holidays is coming soon enough, and why not take a moment to enjoy this part of the season?

November is a wonderful time to enjoy the end of fall and reinforce the practice of gratitude and service with your family. Whether your Thanksgiving meal is next to a fully decorated Christmas tree or surrounded by pumpkins and fall décor, here are some ways to incorporate the meaning of the holiday into your family traditions.

Getting a Group Together to Serve

A lot of organizations are doing extra work around the holidays and can use many hands to
help. This could be a group of older kids- high schoolers or college students at home, or a group of families together for a day. Some organizations have formal volunteer sign-ups set up, but if not, give them a call to see where and when you can help.  Some local spots to try:

Waterfront Rescue Mission

Ronald McDonald House

Epps Christian Center

Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen

Feeding the Gulf Coast

Fill the Mayflower- Manna Food Pantries

Monday, November 21st (5am – 6pm) and Tuesday, November 22nd (7am – 6pm)

Cordova Mall Parking Lot (9th Avenue Side)

Fill the Mayflower is a wonderful opportunity to involve children who may not be old enough to do hands-on volunteering just yet. They can help you pick out food while grocery shopping or talk with the family about skipping a meal out one week and using that money to buy groceries to give.

Letters and Holiday Treats

Another wonderful way to include children of all ages is by writing letters and/or making treats to drop off at retirement homes. Many residents may not have families nearby, and a little holiday cheer will go a long way!

Gratitude at Home

I love the idea of having some time for gratitude with the family built into this season.  Let’s be serious; the schedules will get wild, and the to-do lists will be endless soon enough, so take some time now to reflect and enjoy!

For younger children, building a Thankful Turkey is a fun way to visualize the practice. For older kids, starting a gratitude journal can be a great start to incorporating the practice into their routines.

It can be as simple as going around the table at dinner (or, in our case, on the fly during breakfast) and having each person state what they’re thankful for that day.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it’s a meaningful time to come together and enjoy all the gifts of the season with your family!


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