by Carrie Havranek
It’s is not as hard as you might think to take a moment and be grateful. Thanksgiving is dedicated to that very notion, to stopping, gathering with loved ones (sans gifts!), and celebrating life and food and our blessings, however you want to count them. Thanksgiving tells us, though, that we should make more of a habit of showing our thanks; the meal part of the holiday is of course delicious but not one I would want to eat all the time. Here are five cool ways to show your gratitude.
1. Donate Blood. Blood banks are always looking for donors, and you never know when you might need a pint to save your life. Miller-Keystone frequently does drives here in the Lehigh Valley, but why not volunteer before you’re asked?
2. Share What You Have. Second Harvest needs as much help as it can get to feed needy families in our community, and you can offer your time (volunteer in a soup kitchen), resources (donate money), or food (start a canned food drive). Or all three.
3. Put It In Writing, for Yourself. Make a gratitude list of all the things in your life that you’re thankful for, large and small. Your dog. Your parents. Your job. Your house. Warm clothing and a warm bed. Your health. Loved ones. The sunshine. The rain. The leaves crunching under your feet. The act of calling attention to the things that we are grateful for helps us find perspective in a holiday season that wants to, continually, pull us everywhere but inward.
4. Put It In Writing, to Others. Write a thank-you note. You don’t need an occasion. Thank your friend for being a good listener. Thank your sister for her thoughtful ways. Thank your parents for raising you right. Thank your teachers, your ministers and rabbis, your aunts and uncles, your grandmothers. Thank the person who went out of his or her way to do something to make you smile.
5. Thank Yourself, for Yourself. Take a day off and do something you love, for you, by yourself (or with a similarly-minded loved one). Give yourself some love, some time to think. Go for a run. Take a pottery class. Visit a friend, spontaneously, you haven’t seen in a while. Break up the routine in life and separate yourself from the daily worries. It is incredibly refreshing and recharging.
What will you do?
Carrie Havranek is a writer in Easton who is grateful for just about everything.