The Compass Blog

How to give Thanks this Thanksgiving

Kathi Noaker

This time of year, many of us look forward to our holiday plans with our friends and family who we don’t get to see very often. In the seasonal world, it’s often the time everyone looks forward to going ‘home’ for a bit, and enjoying all the comforts that home can offer. But this holiday season will likely look much different as our concerns to keep our loved ones safe requires us to reconsider and adapt are holiday gatherings.  So what can we do this year to not just keep our spirits up but to help others as well? And it’s that last part I’m suggesting is the key to it all – helping others. 

   “A miracle is a shift in perception.” -Marianne Williamson

Changing our focus away from ourselves and towards others can be a suprising source of relief and joy. So here are some ideas to help make this unique Thanksgiving an opportunity to think more about giving.

Reach out to friends, family, neighbors and complete strangers:

  1. Call some of the older people in your life you haven’t talked with in awhile. COVID has really taken a toll on this population – many have been pretty isolated for months now – maybe a grandparent, or a neighbor from your old neighborhood, or even one of the Older & Bolder’s you had a special relationship with a summer or two ago. I have a dear friend who is 84. He would stop by my house a few times a week, and we’d sit on my porch and visit. Now I call him instead. He’s not a big phone talker, but we always have some good laughs and he says, without fail, ‘You made my day!’ And I say it right back, because it’s true. 
  2. At the other end of the age bracket – have a kid you love in your life that’s far away (nieces/nephews/grandkids/cousins/friends’ kids)? Set up a Zoom play date. Think of an activity you’ll both have fun doing together and schedule it. Check out this great list – 20 best Zoom games for kids.   You’ll both have fun, and their parents will be grateful!
  3. Volunteer to go shopping or run an errand for a friend, a neighbor, or even a complete stranger who may be at-risk or elderly. And if the snow is already piling up, offer to shovel their walk and driveway. 
  4. Buy some fun paper or cards and pens/pencils and write some old fashioned letters. Put some joy in someone’s mailbox. Picture them sorting through the bills and the flyers and seeing your letter or card there and the smile on their face. That will get you writing! 

Support your essential workers

  1. If you know a nurse, a bus driver, a paramedic, a grocery store worker, etc., send a meal to them and their family. Imagine coming home from a long shift and there’s a hot meal waiting. Find a local restaurant that delivers and you’re also supporting the restaurant. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Who doesn’t love Chinese takeout or a great pizza? 
  2. Make a sign for your yard or window thanking those essential workers that are putting in long holiday hours. 
  3. Leave a little gift for your UPS or Fedex delivery person. Maybe some snacks – a bag of peanuts and a drink. Or even a thank you card. Just to remind them that they’re appreciated. 

Animal lover? Foster a dog or a cat. If you’re a seasonal adventurer, you know that having a pet can make finding a position with housing difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever have animals in your life. If this is your off-season, check out your local shelter to see if there’s a 4-legged friend who could really use a break from that cage. Or if you don’t want to go quite that far, a lot of shelters welcome dog walkers. Spring a pal out into the sunshine for a couple hours.

We hope you have a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving, and still have an opportunity to connect with your loved ones, even if it is from a distance. Remember to be grateful for all that you are and all that you have. And share when, how and what you can. We’ll all get through this together.

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