Thursday, November 19, 2015

Giving. Thanks.

Last year was the first Thanksgiving that The Fella and I spent together. Because he doesn’t eat meat, and I wasn’t feeling the traditional foods (I was still burned out from the great turkey roast of 2013), we decided that we would make pizza and be quietly festive. This was an excellent plan right up until the day before Thanksgiving, when we had an unexpected, giant snowstorm and the power went out.

And stayed out.

For two days.

Takeout, anyone?

This year, we are going a slightly more traditional route (albeit sans turkey) and, hopefully, will have power so we can actually cook things instead of having to throw out all of the things in our fridge because they have spoiled. Fingers crossed.

As we were thinking about what we wanted to do for the holiday, though, I was remembering the fairy tale story that we all learned in elementary school  about the first Thanksgiving. You probably remember. You made a turkey out of a tracing of your hand. You made a buckled hat out of construction paper. Your teacher told a story about how the Pilgrims and the Indians pooled all of their resources and had a magnificent meal.

History tells us that this version, though kid-friendly, isn’t, erm, accurate.  I know that.

I love the spirit of what I think of as Disney Thanksgiving – cleaned up, adorable, probably including singing animals – because I think that there should be more sharing. More generosity. More pooling of resources.

What I would like to challenge every person to do for Thanksgiving and the holiday season is just that: share. Be generous.

·         Be generous with your knowledge – consider the things that you have been through and the lessons you have learned, and how you can share those things.

·         Be generous with your time – give time to someone or something who needs it. Maybe you have a friend who needs your listening skills. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who needs someone to check in on her. Maybe your child’s school could use a helper. Maybe the local food bank could use someone to pick up or sort donations.

·         Be generous with your heart. Offer kindness and love to people. Even when it’s hard. Maybe especially when it’s hard. Let the people you love know that you love them. Send your mom a card. Call your siblings.  Write a note to a friend.

·         Be generous with your resources. Donate an old coat to a program that distributes winter coats to people who need them. Buy a couple of extra items at the grocery store and donate them to a food pantry. Pick up an extra toy and give it to Toys for Tots. Drop your change into the Salvation Army kettle. Smile at the person who’s standing out in the cold, ringing the bell.

This world needs more kindness. It needs more shared knowledge and experience. It needs us to take the time to be human with one another. It needs us to love each other. And it needs us to share.

Be generous, when you can, however you can.

And if you want to make a construction paper Pilgrim hat while you do it? That’s fun too.

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