Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Blount's house. I am on the far right and I am joined by 7 of my first cousins! There are 16 first cousins on this side of the family! I remember my Mother talking about the old days when the men sat down and ate first. When the men were through, the women sat down and ate, and then it was time for the children to eat. My Mother never liked that arrangement! She, like mothers everywhere, think that children always come first! I guess that explains this picture...sure doesn't look like we were hurting for attention or food! It was Thanksgiving and we were happy to be at our grandparents' house, to have an abundance of food and to just be together! With that in mind, let us make an effort to put the THANKS back in Thanksgiving! Here are some suggestions:
- 1. Sit down and take a few minutes to write a letter---not a text message or email, but a real letter---to the oldest surviving member of your family. Maybe it is a great aunt, a great-great grandparent or a sibling. Maybe it is someone you haven't talked to in years. Maybe it is someone you just saw earlier today. None of that matters! What matters is that you sit down and put in words how appreciative you are for the things the family has passed on to you: values, good genes, wonderful memories, etc! What a wonderful, thoughtful way to say 'thank you' to and from your family!
- 2. When you are at the grocery store shopping for your Thanksgiving dinner, remember to shop for another family who needs the help. Too often, when we buy food to donate, we buy staples. We stock up on sale items like spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and ramin noodles. We then give those staples to a food bank which distributes the food. Change it up this year! Adopt a family and deliver the food basket yourself! Double the products you are buying at the store! Fill up your basket with Thanksgiving food items: fresh yams, cranberries, turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pies! Take your kids and let them help you carry the bags of food to your Thanksgiving family! Both your family and your Thanksgiving family will benefit from your thoughtfulness!
- 3. Take an elderly person or a person without transportation to the grocery store to do their Thanksgiving shopping! Many people, who can no longer drive, would love the opportunity to take a leisurely shopping trip to the grocery store. Many of those people may be expecting out of town family for the holidays and will be so greatful to you for thinking of them!
- 4. Know anyone who is new to your community, has no family, or is totally alone for the holidays? Why not invite them to your house for Thanksgiving dinner? I know that having your family at your home is a very private time. Just give up one hour of your time! With your invitation to your guest to join you for dinner, include transportation by one of your family members. Invite your guest with a pick up time and a return delivery time. You will give a lonely person the opportunity to share the joy of your family and your dinner table and still reserve enough time for your family to have some private "together" time!
- 5. There are many "shut-ins" in every community. Adopt one or two for Thanksgiving dinner. Let them know that you will be delivering Thanksgiving dinner to them! And make the delivery special---no tin pie plates with aluminum foil on top! Deliver your meal on a beautiful gift plate! Set a lovely table complete with flowers and Thanksgiving decorations!
We all get so caught up in our preparations for the holidays...everything has to be perfect....the perfect menu...the perfect table setting...the perfect centerpiece...the perfect family setting. Maybe we all just need to slow down and think about what made Thanksgiving great when we were kids...laughter...games...a place at the table...just being together! I don't know about you, but I am going to slow down and try to be more THANKFUL this Thanksgiving!