The way I see it, fall just gets progressively better and better. What’s more fun than Halloween and buckets of free candy? Why, an entire day devoted to gratitude and gluttony and football, of course!
As much as I love holidays that force my extended family to hang out together (Zero sarcasm, you guys. I love my family), Thanksgiving is definitely in my Top 2. Dare I say in my Top 1?
There’s just something about Thanksgiving that gets me right in the heart/belly. I try (mostly unsuccessfully) to live a life of consistent gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for every single day, yet most days I fall into bed exhausted and sour. So it’s a good and convicting thing to have a season set aside for mindful gratitude.
And for my family, Thanksgiving is also a time to be mindful of the disparity between our abundance and another’s want.
There are many ways to get your kids involved in the Thanksgiving spirit this season. (SIDE BONUS: I’ve found it SUPER hard to be stressed and stretched thin during the holidays when I actually do good work. So it’s a win-win!)
Here are a few of my family’s favorite, easy ways to get into the holiday spirit.
- Make PB&J sandwiches for a local homeless shelter. We’ve done this for a local charity that feeds over 300 homeless people a hot meal one night a week then sends them home with a few bagged sandwiches each to tide them over. We set up a PB&J assembly line and turn it into a competition (because what’s charity without competition?). We call it the PB&J Brigade.
- Ring those bells! Beginning in mid-November, red kettles set up shop outside some of our favorite stores. Not only will your little ones LOVE being in charge of ringing the bell, but their overall adorableness really brings in the dough-nations. Contact your local Salvation Army to sign up for an hour-long shift!
- Sponsor a child for Christmas. We have a local charity called Angel Tree that hangs Christmas wish lists of poverty-stricken kids on Christmas trees all around town. These kids wish for items like sneakers that fit and new underwear, and it is sobering. We make sure to choose kids the same age as our own two, so that they can get involved in choosing Christmas presents.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is any of this intended to guilt you into buying an Xbox for The Boys and Girls Club. But if I want my children to grow up in a world made better because of who they are and how they love their neighbors, this is a great way to lead by example while helping real people at the same time. (Do not be alarmed if they’ve forgotten these lessons by Christmas. You can try again next year!)
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Jessica Buttram parents, writes, laughs, and eats too much chocolate. She has no practical advice and zero life hacks to offer for this whole parenting gig, but she makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and that’s something, right? When she’s not bribing her kids with Doritos to make them sit still and snuggle for just a few minutes longer, she can probably be found vacuuming Dorito crumbs out of the couch. Her family is her whole world, except for the part that belongs to coffee. You can find her @jbuttwhatwhat and meetthebuttrams.com.