Simple ways to give thanks this season

Everyone has so much going on these days. School commitments. Work obligations. Extracurriculars. Doctors appointments. Family stuff. The list goes on and on. In the busy hustle and bustle of daily life, we can be in such “go mode” that we don’t always take the time to realize what’s really happening around us. In this season of Thanksgiving,we think it’s important to slow down and appreciate life’s blessings, which really are abundant around us. It’s also important to realize we have much to be thankful for, even on days when it may not feel that way. Here are simple ways to practice an attitude of gratitude.  

  1.  30 Days of Thankful. You may have heard of this before – each day in November (which has 30 days), you write down something you’re thankful for. This is an easy thing the whole family can do. At dinnertime, go around the table and everyone can share something they are thankful for. Or you can come up each day with one thing the entire family is thankful for. Jot the ideas down in a notebook, on a piece of paper to hang on the fridge or on a slip of paper you place in a jar. You can read all of them aloud on Thanksgiving Day or at the end of the month.
  1. Volunteer! It might seem daunting to find time in your jam-packed calendar to volunteer, but giving your time is beneficial in so many ways. Volunteering for an hour or two during the week or just a couple of hours on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon can be a great activity for the whole family. Working alongside your children can teach them the value of lending a hand while developing skills like empathy and compassion. It also helps broaden their view of the world around them and helps them see how they can make a difference, no matter their age.
  1. Send a thank you note. When was the last time your family sent a handwritten thank you note? If you do this after every birthday or holiday, great job! If you haven’t sent one in a while, make it a point to mail one this month.This is a great, tangible way to show gratitude. Kids can write a note to a cousin, grandparent or friend to thank them for their friendship. You could write one to a friend or mentor that touched you in a special way. No matter who the recipient is, they’ll be thankful for the real snail mail they find waiting for them in the mailbox.
  1. Donate.November is the perfect time to give to those in need. Pick up a few extra canned goods and nonperishable items at the grocery store to donate to your church or local food bank. This is a busy season for them and they are in need of items. Donate any gently worn coats to a local coat drive. If you have sweaters, hats or gloves that are in good condition but you won’t be wearing anymore, donate to those who need them. Not only will you be helping someone, but it’s also a great way to re-purpose clothing you aren’t using.
  2. Random Acts of Kindness. Our kids are constantly watching what we do. If they see us acting with kindness on a regular basis, they’ll act that way in their daily lives, too. This month, make it a point to perform several random acts of kindness. Rake leaves in a neighbor’s yard, pick up the tab for the coffee order for the car behind you in the drive thru line, give your child’s teacher a special treat (Ashley’s Pastries has lots of great stuff to choose from!), or simply hold the door open for others when you enter or leave a restaurant or store. These are simple acts that mean a lot and in today’s world, often go undone. Be the positive change and choose to be kind this month…and all year long.