In my first post, I discussed ways to make Thanksgiving and the holidays more meaningful. Here are more.
*At Griffith Lutheran Church, our teenagers rake leaves for some of our older members. Kids find this exhilarating fun; at the end of the day, they’re tired, sore, and happy, knowing they’ve helped others. During Christmas, everybody urges you to contribute to the community–and unfortunately, sometimes this feels like just another thing to cross off your to-do list. Why not contribute to a food pantry now–or better yet, through the year, when the need is just as great?
*This is the perfect chance to start new family rituals. Light a candle at sunset. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
*Send Thanksgiving cards instead of Christmas cards, an important do-ahead. You don’t need to send different cards to people of different faiths, and your friends will remember your card. With a Christmas card, there’s always the danger your friends will glance at your card and recycle it with the other twenty they received that day.
*Spend 15 minutes a day sorting out your charitable contributions so you won’t be rushed at the end of the year.
*Thanksgiving is no better time to have kid-made decorations–and while they’re busy doing that, you can get your work done. Just slap down paper and pen, and have them make hand turkeys. Don’t forget one for the grandparents–and the neighbors–and…
*Now is a great time to do something thankful for your local public servants. Do something nice for your police or fire departments. In the past, I’ve merely taken cookies, but you might want to call ahead to find what would be helpful.
*Is there a Thanksgiving service at your place of worship? If not, organize one, remembering your clergyperson will be entering one of the busiest times of their years.
*Ask your clergy person to do a house blessing for you. Don’t worry, you don’t need to clean up for them. Trust me, they’ve seen it all.
*Light the fireplace on deep-autumn mornings so it’s the first thing kids see when they come downstairs. That’ll make even Lucky Charms cozy, if not magically nutritious.
*Make two days before Thanksgiving your personal Thanksgiving Day. Take a nap, get a manicure, and make a list of what you’re thankful for. The next day, when you’re preparing for Thanksgiving, you won’t feel so hassled.
*Start your Christmas cards now. Stamp them, address them, stuff them assembly-line style. I strongly suggest you do this yourself, as your kids will mangle them.
*Start a habit of thanking God every day of the year. That’s more important than one day of 5,000 calorie meals.