We are starting to prepare our family giving rituals used at Thanksgiving. As we move into October, Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations will soon be kicking off – a time where families typically come together to count blessings and feast on a special Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving might look a little different for your family this year – perhaps your family will be enjoying a Thanksgiving meal while practicing social distancing, gathering virtually via video call, or maybe relatives abroad won’t be able to safely travel to join you at the Thanksgiving table. Since Thanksgiving this year will likely be unconventional, it may in fact be the perfect time to introduce some new family traditions.
If you and your family are interested in giving back, what better time to begin than Thanksgiving?
These family giving rituals used at Thanksgiving bring families together, and are great for Canadians and others around the world alike.
Keeping a family gratitude journal allows the family to record and keep track of blessings. Have everyone write down what they are grateful for in the journal, or have one family member be the designated scribe. Someone will read the journal back to share all of the blessings with the whole family on Thanksgiving.
An alternative to the gratitude journal is the gratitude jar. Passing around a gratitude jar at the Thanksgiving table is a great way to count blessings and express our gratitude. Have the whole family write down what they are thankful for on a piece of paper or post-it note and put it in the jar. Some examples are “My family,” “My friends,” “My health,” “Laughter,” and “Clean water” (even the little things count!).
The Thanksgiving gratitude jar can also be turned into a year-long giving ritual – families can practice writing down what they are grateful for daily!
Volunteering is the ultimate give for families who want to make a meaningful impact this Thanksgiving season. You can begin incorporating volunteering into your family’s Thanksgiving traditions by researching local volunteer opportunities. Think local non for profit and volunteer-led organizations, charities and food banks. A great resource for finding volunteer opportunities is VolunteerMatch. Search Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities with VolunteerMatch by entering your location and typing in a keyword (like “Thanksgiving”). Discover virtual and in-person opportunities, as well as local organizations.
COVID-19 has affected us all, and these uncertain times have been especially difficult for some. Some of us may not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families due to location, COVID-19 restrictions, or other reasons. It is certainly a time when we need to come together and support one another more than ever. If you know a neighbor (or someone else in your family’s life) that has been struggling or going through a difficult time, give them some support this Thanksgiving. Leave a food basket or Thanksgiving leftovers outside their door. Enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with them while keeping your social distance.
Call a relative abroad, a grandparent, another extended family member. You may have a close friend that won’t be joining your family at the Thanksgiving table. Let them know that your family is thinking of them this Thanksgiving over the phone or via video call.
This Thanksgiving, encourage your family to try one of these giving rituals. These uncertain times have certainly shown us that it is easy to take things for granted. We have a lot to be grateful for. Although this Thanksgiving might look a little different for your family, remember that it can be an opportunity to start new traditions. Remind yourself and your family of what you have to be grateful for and start giving! Giving on Thanksgiving (and everyday) shows gratitude and boosts happiness.
If you are interested in finding more giving ideas, check out 365give.