Thanksgiving provides the perfect inspiration to do good deeds. I take advantage of this time of year to talk to my kids about being thankful and appreciating what we have. This often leads to a discussion about the people in this world who aren’t quite as fortunate.
This year, my son was concerned about the families who won’t be able to have turkey on Thanksgiving (which is his favorite part). Since I can’t afford to buy a turkey for everyone who needs one, we brainstormed some other ways we could brighten someone’s day. We plan to do these ten good deeds (plus more!) over the next two weeks.
1. Rake someone’s lawn.
This is a thoughtful idea from The Homeschool Classroom that requires nothing more than a little hard work. You can choose a person going through a tough time, a family with a new baby, an elderly person or just a neighbor at random. My family is going to head over to my grandmother’s house and help her with some much-needed yard work.
2. Hand out “thank you” hearts.
I love this idea from Let’s Lasso the Moon. Sew a bunch of fabric hearts and then hand them out to people who do something kind for you. It’s a way of showing your thanks for even the smallest things. My son is particularly excited about this idea since he tends to be a little shy verbally but loves to give tokens of his appreciation.
3. Donate non-perishable food to a local food drive.
Although this is an obvious choice, it is an easy one that does a lot of good. My son had a blast raiding our pantry and the grocery store to pick out the perfect foods to donate to families in need. We dropped off two bags full of groceries to our local food bank.
4. Pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant on Thanksgiving Day.
This is a great idea inspired by Not Just Cute. Some people don’t have families to spend the holidays with so they eat at a restaurant instead. Or they have to work so they grab something to eat at a drive-through. Whatever the reason, paying for the meal of a stranger is sure to brighten their day. We plan to head through a drive-through on our way to my brother’s house on Thanksgiving and pay for the food ordered by the car behind us.
5. Invite someone to share Thanksgiving dinner with you.
We live in a college town, so there are many people here who are far from home and cannot afford to go home for the holidays. Regardless of where you live, you are sure to be surrounded by people who will be alone on Thanksgiving. We plan to invite a single friend to have dinner with us.
6. Make an effort to reconnect with a friend or relative.
We all have those people in our lives who we always think about calling or visiting. But then time slips by and we realize we have gone another six months or a year without making contact. I am taking advantage of this holiday season to start reconnecting with a couple of people who I love dearly but just don’t talk to enough. I’m going to include my kids by encouraging them to write letters and make phone calls with me.
7. Give notes to friends telling them why you are thankful to have them in your life.
This is a favorite activity for my son. He loves to write notes to his friends and family telling them why he is thankful for them or what he loves most about them.
8. Pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving Day.
More and more retailers are announcing plans to open on Thanksgiving Day – some as early as 6 am! Because I want everyone to have the opportunity to be with their loved ones during the holiday (including store employees), I am pledging not to shop on Thanksgiving Day. You can pledge on Facebook by liking this page.
9. Bake goodies for police officers or firefighters.
Some jobs simply can’t be put on hold for the holidays. Many police officers and firefighters will be working to help protect us rather than enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with their families. We plan to show our appreciation for their service by dropping off a basket of baked goodies to our local fire department.
10. Go on a turkey trot.
Most areas offer some sort of run/walk on Thanksgiving Day benefiting a local charity. Our area has a turkey trot that includes a 5K for adults and a fun run for kids – all to benefit a local food bank. My son is super excited to go for an early morning run with his dad!
How do you plan to give back or show your appreciation on Thanksgiving Day?
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