Last year on Thanksgiving I found myself celebrating alone with my kids. As someone who is used to family get-togethers of around 30 people, it was strange to think it would be un-special. So, I asked my boys what they were thankful for. We made a list. Then, we gave those things back to others who did not have them.
Apparently, our “Giving Thanks” day made a huge impression on them. This year, when we were talking about our plans with family to have a traditional dinner, the boys spoke up and demanded we do “Giving Thanks” again.
So, we did. And we were joined by another sweetie to help with the giving.
Here’s how it went down:
We are thankful for our animals and that we can give them a happy home. But, there are so many out there who do not have a warm, safe place to curl up. So, we visited the local SPCA where dogs and kitties live in hopes of someday finding people to love.
We brought the fuzzy critters some goodies.
It brought a wag to some tails for sure. (I believe this beauty is looking for a person to love, by the way…)
Next, we were thankful for our families. There are lots of sweet people who were not able to share the day with their families. We found some of these people at a senior citizen assisted living complex.
We brought them some large print word puzzles and they were extremely happy to get the gifts and so beyond excited to talk to children.
Our kiddos were very touched by them. One sweetheart lady was once a young, vivacious actress in China. So many amazing stories there for sure.
Next, we were thankful for our health. There are many pure, yet fragile little souls in the world. So, we headed off to find them in the hospital.
We left them a huge stack of coloring books and crayons.
Of course, we are also very thankful for our homes. There are lots of people who do not have a safe, warm home — and a lot of them have children just like our children. So, off to the homeless shelter we headed with teddy bears and stuffed critters galore.
Strangely enough, we had exactly the same amount of stuffed animals as there were kids there. One for each. Our children handed them out themselves. One little girl asked, just to be sure, if that teddy bear was really for her to keep.
What I can say about our morning is this:
1. I feel a little guilty about our Giving Thanks day because I am actually getting more out of it than I feel like I am really giving.
2. After taking a few hours to see with my own eyes how many out there have so very little, I feel very thankful for what I do have. It is a self-reflection of my life under a very powerful microscope for sure.
3. The conversations we all had with our kids after were breathtaking. I listened to my children tell their grandparents about what we did today. The exuberance they used in the retelling, mixed with their sense of pride that they could help people (even if just a little) was a gift.
4. At bedtime tonight, my boys told me they wanted to do it again next year. And so, they have given me a gift and I believe I have given one to them as well.
Somehow, I have accidentally started a new tradition. This year, we doubled in size by adding another family. I feel overwhelmed with thankfulness as I get ready for bed tonight.