The winter months are often a time of celebration, as well as showing appreciation and thanks for the good things that have happened during the year. We are often moved to show our gratitude to those who have helped make our lives better or easier. You can help make this holiday special for the people who have made a difference for you, or better yet, honor someone who has helped make a difference for someone else.
Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to say “thanks.”
Engage in group thanks.
Serving others around the holidays is one of the most satisfying and rewarding ways to volunteer. Do it differently this year by gathering the whole family together to serve. Your local food pantry or soup kitchen could use your help organizing donations and preparing, serving, or delivering meals. By volunteering together as a group, you’ll make a much greater impact and strengthen your family bond.
Put it in writing.
Few gestures make as strong a statement of gratitude as handwritten thank-you notes. Take a few moments to write your congressperson or local official, expressing your thanks for their service. You can also consider submitting your letter to the local newspaper editor for your entire community to read. Want to spread more thanks? Write a personal note to a parent, friend or anyone who has positively influenced your life or community.
Take a hike.
Spending time outdoors together is a fun way to spread goodwill and express thanks. Create the good by gathering a few friends for a long walk around town or a hike in the woods. Bring along a kitchen garbage bag and gloves to pick up trash along the way, or take it to the next level with an organized neighborhood cleanup plan. You can help generate interest for your event by promoting it in your local paper or online community forum.
Say it with food.
Baking cookies or a pie? Take a few extra minutes and bake a second batch. Then deliver it to an unsuspecting and soon-to-be-grateful neighbor. See a single parent struggling to keep their kids under control while dining out? Surprise them by anonymously picking up their tab. If you know someone unable to be with their family during the holidays, create a surrogate family by hosting a thanksgiving potluck or better yet - plan a potluck with a purpose.
Do it for, or with, the kids.
If you have the time and space, you could make a lifelong memory for an orphaned child by hosting them over the holidays. On a smaller scale, offer to babysit for a neighbor or family friend as a way to show gratitude for their support throughout the year. Then have their children write thank-you cards to present when their parents return.
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