Over the years, Thanksgiving has become one of the holidays I look forward to the most. Not just because I’m a fan of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, but because I love that we have a holiday dedicated to gratitude. I enjoy being with my family, sharing all the things we have to be thankful for, but my favorite part of the day is when we GIVE thanks. For our family, sharing our gratitude with others is just as important as sharing it with each other. It’s a fairly new tradition for us, something we started 5 years ago, and I honestly think it’s what changed the holiday for me. When we stopped simply counting our blessings and started giving thanks, the day became truly special. Now we spend Thanksgiving Eve working together as a family to bake treats and wrap them in pretty paper packages. The next day we deliver them to our local children’s hospital and pediatric hospice home. We’re thankful for both facilities and all they do for children and their families, but we also want to try to make the day feel special for those that are spending their Thanksgiving in a place they wouldn’t have chosen.
Giving thanks in this way does my heart so much good. I think it’s because it’s not just about the moment we hand the treats over, it’s about the entire act of giving. Thinking of those that we are baking for, along with spending time packaging up the treats so they look as special as we want those that enjoy them to feel, is a huge blessing for us. Have you experienced that gift? The one that comes from thinking outside yourself? I love how much more joyful your heart is made through it.
Giving financially or volunteering your time are wonderful ways to give thanks, but there are so many other ways you can share your thankful heart with others. I encourage you to explore how you can use your talents to bless others. When you involve family and friends you’ll create a day that’s special for everyone involved.
Here are a few ideas —
-Create simple flower arrangements from grocery store flowers and deliver them to elderly or Alzheimer communities.
-Bake treats and deliver them to your local fire department.
-Knit scarves or ear warmers and deliver them to your local homeless shelter.
-Bring hot coffee and dessert to your local hospital’s NICU for parents that don’t want to leave their baby’s side during their first Thanksgiving.
Happy ThanksGIVING friends!
Heather Hamilton is our *NEW* Inspiration contributor. She’s the wife to one and the momma to three; two that live in her house and one that lives in God’s. You can find her sharing her journey to becoming the girl God created her to be over at her blog, Life Made Lovely, and sharing her love of handmade in her new shop, The Paperie.
She’s the founder of the Joyful Life Library and is the curator of The Joyful Shop, which uses 100% of it’s profits to support the library project. She’s also the Creative Director for Beautifully Rooted, a site for creative Christian women. And every day, she chooses joy.