Today is my Thanksgiving! Wahoo!! Since I watched many a news feed fill with photos of turkey and stuffing yesterday, I’m really excited to dig into my own plate later this afternoon! But don’t be fooled, I’ve already enjoyed three slices of pie this week, yummmmm 🙂 A little pre-turkey hiking with the pup earlier this week sure did work up an appetite.
This morning will be spent doing some final prep on the potatoes and Brussels sprouts, while the turkey sizzles away in the oven! Family will start streaming in about noon and I just.can’t.wait! Ahh, finally!!
Yesterday, on Thanksgiving the prequel, we spent the day at my mom’s community church. Giving our time on Thanksgiving is a tradition we started years and years ago, when I was about 12. We were facing our first Thanksgiving day alone – as my folks were recently separated and my extended family must have been celebrating somewhere out of town. Oh, and my mom and I were both vegetarians. HA! Didn’t really make for the best Thanksgiving day.
So, about 15 years ago, I remember “giving up” a family Thanksgiving and making our way into the basement of a local church to help prepare Thanksgiving meals for Meals-on-Wheels. We cooked, baked, packaged and filled up our trunk with complete Thanksgiving dinners to take to members of our community who couldn’t afford the cost or the effort involved in preparing a dinner themselves.
At 12 years old, I remember knocking on trailer doors, with a load of pies in my hand. Going inside of senior centers with a turkey wrapped in tinfoil. Carefully stepping through a townhouse of an elderly man and having to clean his kitchen to have any space at all to leave his dinner. These experiences opened my eyes to the need in our community. To the different situations people live in behind closed doors. To the ways I could help and the amazing gifts I received by giving my time and heart.
Over the last 15 years, we’ve spent about half of our Thanksgiving days this way. Whether it was Meals-on-Wheels, a community church, delivering food or donating items, we usually find a way to give on Thanksgiving. This year was spent at my mom’s church, serving meals to community members who otherwise would be alone or without on Thanksgiving. And, I even managed to get on pie duty! (Two years ago, I was on dish duty, so I figured I’d earned a little sweetness).
There are so many ways to give on Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, and so many people in need. It’s just a matter of figuring out where your time and talent can best be used, and what brings you joy. Giving should never feel like sacrificing. “Giving up” our Thanksgiving has never been a question. Spending the “real” day in service makes 2.0 so much more special.
So, Happy Turkey Day 2.0 people! Enjoy your leftovers!
Of possible interest:
- So, What’s so Good About Giving, from Positively Positive — some science behind the gift of giving
- Creating Your Epic Gratitude List, from Claire Wineland — very cool vlog on being grateful for the challenges in your life