I’m as big a fan of Christmas as anybody, but I fear that Thanksgiving gets inadvertently tossed by the wayside in anticipation of Christmas. In an effort to remedy the situation and bring much-deserved respect back to this esteemed holiday, I propose the following.

  • Find a family in need (If you work for a church, this should not be difficult. Likepilgrim-hatswise if you attend a church. If you do neither, just pick one and call them to ask for recommendations.). Someone who has recently lost a job, someone with an illness or injury in the family, a recently-divorced single parent, or someone with a home that’s been foreclosed on are all good places to start. Contact that family and find out what needs they have that you can meet. If they need food, provide it. If they need a job, make it your job to help find one. Just do what you’d do if it were your own family.
  • Buy some solid-color cloth napkins for everyone at your Thanksgiving table, along with paint pens or non-toxic permanent markers. At the beginning of your feast, have everyone write one or two Thankful For items on the napkin. Wash and re-use these same napkins for many Turkey Days to come, adding new items every year. (Can also be done with a plain tablecloth.)
  • Tell service workers you encounter that you’re thankful for the work they do, and really mean it – people like teachers, mail carriers, law enforcement, and nurses. This might also be accompanied by an inexpensive gift like cookies, a handwritten note, or a scarf.
  • Spend time thinking (alone or with your immediate family) about things you are not thankful for right now, and consider the ways in which they might be repositioned. Remember I Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” There is something to be thankful for in every situation.
Always up for more suggestions.