Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Many years ago my husband had a kidney stone the day before Thanksgiving. So rather than drive to Arizona the next day to have Thanksgiving with family, I went to the grocery on Thanksgiving morning, bought all the fixings, and made us a small impromptu Thanksgiving dinner, just the two of us. It was wonderful. As much as I love a big Thanksgiving dinner with family, I also really enjoy a small dinner like the one we had. Because it was scaled down and quiet, it gave us a chance to really talk together about what we were grateful for (starting with health!).
For many of us Thanksgiving is a busy week of cleaning, preparing, cooking, and sometimes traveling. Then there’s football, parades, and shopping. It can be a very busy week. It’s easy to just think about what you need to get done. But this is a particularly tough time for those who recently lost someone, those who divorced, and those who don’t have family nearby. One of best ways to really have a meaningful Thanksgiving is to do something meaningful. Invite someone to dinner who might otherwise be alone. Invite some young people in the military who are serving at a base near you who don’t have family nearby. Take the kids to help serve at a soup kitchen or to take toys to a homeless shelter. When you put someone else’s needs before your own, it can fill you in a way that not much else can.
Lastly, try to start a new family tradition. Instead of just saying what you’re thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner, try to find a way to let one person know you’re grateful for them every day of the month. Rather than spending time on Facebook or with a game on your phone, spend time listening to motivating TED Talks or podcasts. Do something to improve your own life even if it’s just by giving to others. That is a powerful way to fill your own life.