- Why we must give our thanks this year more than ever
- Donate & Contribute
- Count Your Blessings
- Share a Meal with Someone
- Spend quality time with loved ones
- Appreciate Yourself
- Appreciate Nature
- Tip Generously and Pay Forward
- Words of Appreciation
It’s that festive time of the year again. The slight nip in the air, the aroma of the woody scented candles, the warmth of pumpkin-spiced latte, and the crunch of the descended autumn leaves scream fall more than anything else. This time of the year is special. Nature puts on one of its best liveries almost like it’s an indication for us to prepare ourselves for the upcoming holidays. And before you know it, we’ll be seated at a table saying grace with our families and friends giving thanks to all that we’ve received, just before we dive into the roasted turkey.
Fall is a beautiful time of the year. It is a reminder for us to get into the holiday spirits of gratitude and giving back. It is the season of turkey and harvests, but most importantly, it is the season of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not just a tradition that takes place yearly for the celebration of the harvest season, it is a day of immense significance. It is the day of gratitude and giving back; of remembering that we have so much to be thankful for and a reminder to stay grounded; a day that gets us all together with the aim of giving back and valuing everyone and everything more than ever. Lastly, it is a day that embarks the start of the holidays and gets us excited for the preparation of Christmas and the new year ahead. :)
The past two years have been testing times for all of us. We have all been tested to survive against the odds. As the world heals, we’re confined within the bounds of our homes, some of us separated from our loved ones, but still marching on. Doesn’t that show us that we all have a lot to be grateful for?
As we start planning our Thanksgiving meals and Christmas plans, we must also take a moment to give thanks and experience the rejoice in the gratitude for our lives. As animals, it is our instinct to look at the negatives in life. We have a natural tendency to sense if things seem amiss – it is part of our fight or flight reflex. Psychologists would say that it is a part of our survival instincts. Although we may no longer be outrunning a cheetah, we are still quite fixated on the negative aspects of our lives, without even realizing it. A missed promotion, a heartbreak, or even an argument can put us back for weeks. We tend to look at the glass half empty, rather than seeing it half full. It’s easier to spiral down with cynical thoughts if things don’t work out our way than to seek the positives.
But it’s never too late to start emphasizing the positives in our life. Life, after all, is a balance of good with bad. So why wait till Thanksgiving day to express our gratitude when we could start today?
Gratitude is important because it holds the power to ground us. It reminds us that we have so many things to be thankful for which we would sometimes take for granted. By appreciating the people and experiences in our lives, or the astounding beauty of this world, we can usher in the rays of happiness & thankfulness.
*Quick interlude: To truly get into the holiday spirits, we have come up with some Thanksgiving wallpapers for you. It’s a small gesture but it will be a constant reminder for you to keep your holiday spirits up. The Thanksgiving Wallpapers will make a presence throughout the article, and we have also attached the link to them below. Hope you like them and share the spirit with your loved ones!
This holiday season is poignant due to the pandemic and its losses. So if you can, there are plenty of ways to contribute to the ones in need.
- Donate clothes that you may no longer need, instead of throwing them away or selling them. Let go of things that you may no longer use, but can be of great help to someone else. Collect old toys, clothes, shoes, home furnishings, books, etc. and offer to Salvation Army, Goodwill or your nearby donation centers.
- Consider volunteering at local organizations. Find you cause, it could be planting trees, cleaning up the beach or helping someone make their resume for a career opportunity – there are many ways to lend a helping hand.
- Donate to charities that you most relate to, here is a great list to help you, A-Z charity List. There are a lot of Covid Relief funds that you can donate to. Even a small monetary donation can make a big difference in someone’s lives.
- Donate hair whenever you’re getting a haircut. There are numerous organizations that welcome hair donations for making wigs for cancer patients. This is an easy, non-monetary way for helping out someone in need. Here is what you need to know.
- Spare a few hours and visit a nearby elderly home, animal shelter or an orphanage. Spending time with others, sharing their sorrows and joys, makes us realize the power of solidarity and fills our hearts with joy.
Then hustle-bustle of everyday life can make us oblivious to the happiness hidden in finer things. Keeping a gratitude journal strengthens our sense of thankfulness, refocuses us towards the brighter side of life, and even has positive psychological and social impacts. Start by taking out a couple of minutes every morning or night, writing down things that you feel most grateful about. Sometimes we forget how much we have and how far we’ve come until we take a moment to pause and look. By making gratitude journaling a part of our daily routine, we make sure to acknowledge our resilience and our accomplishments. They could be simple things like morning cuddles with your kids, or a supportive co-worker. Write what you feel most thankful for that day.
You can even help your children start a journal of their own. Writing or drawing in their journal daily can teach them discipline, make them appreciative of their opportunities and even help develop empathy and creativity.
On Thanksgiving day, read back on some of the blessings you’ve written down about in the past. These could spark immense joy and thankfulness within us and make us truly give thanks.
Food is not just a means for survival, it is an emotion. Since the beginning of civilization, humans gather to share meals together exchanging their stories and experiences in the process.
This thanksgiving, share a meal with someone in need. It could be a new neighbor, or someone living away from their family, or someone who is struggling to make ends meet. Prepare a meal (even a simple meal would make a difference), and offer it to them. This would not only help you reduce leftovers or wastage, but also brighten up someone else’s day. You could also offer help at a nearby soup kitchen on Thanksgiving day, and share the festivities with others in a more meaningful way.
The love, warmth, and support of our friends and family play a big role in shaping us. Carve out time for those you love, spend time reminiscing old memories with you, siblings, catch up with an old friend, take a trip home and surprise your parents if you can. Be vocal about how much you value their support and admire their efforts.
Appreciate your partner for all that they do for you; plan a staycation with your kids, look at old photos, go for bike rides, bake with them or make DIY craft turkey birds - there are several ways to create beautiful memories with them that they will cherish forever.
After all, this day is all about giving thanks to everything we are grateful for. Give yourself some much-needed TLC by getting a massage, or sleeping in. While you plan the day making sure everybody’s plates are full, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back too. Spend some quality time with yourself doing what really makes you happy – paint, run, dance, or sleep!
Show yourself some love (not just by retail therapy), by centering your thoughts and meditating. You could also write a letter to yourself, reminding yourself of everything that you’ve impressed yourself with. We may be surrounded by people who love us, we need to still appreciate and give ourselves the love we deserve, only then can we deepen our relationships with those around us.
Witnessing a sunset, hearing the sound of waves, digging toes through the warm sand, or the first snow – nature never ceases to amaze us. No matter how tough things might get, spending just a few moments in nature can heal us and make us feel rejuvenated. As the season shift on Thanksgiving, don’t forget to witness the changing color of the leaves and the hint of winter in the air. Give thanks and reconnect with nature by planting trees around you, installing bird feeders, playing with animals at any local shelter, here are some other ways to pause, reflect and reconnect with nature.
Leaving behind tips is not only a gesture of expressing gratitude but also acknowledging the effort someone made for us. Random acts of kindness make someone’s day special. At a diner or restaurant, pay a larger tip to your server, leave a thoughtful note of appreciation; write a positive review for them. At a toll booth or your coffee shop, pay forward for the person behind you. These are simple ways to spread the cheer around you.
We’re all on a journey. Life tests us, challenges us, and rewards us. We all have our good days and bad days. However, a kind gesture from someone on challenging days can be a ray of hope. A few words of appreciation for people who’ve helped us can be a thoughtful gesture to say thanks. You can compliment them for a job well done, or show your support by helping them. Leave a note expressing your gratitude towards them, send them a small token of appreciation, and don't miss a chance to say thanks to them in person. Simple, heartfelt words don’t require much but can have a deep positive impact on someone’s life.
With so much going on in the world today, we all need a dose of kindness, love, and lots of gratitude. Although the idea of giving thanks just one day may not seem enough, it is sure to spark happiness within us. Let's take Thanksgiving as the opportunity to express your gratitude until it becomes a habit.
In praise and celebration of life, Happy Thanksgiving. Salud!