Thanksgiving means different things to each of us based on our family of origin. This year it takes on more meaning as we remember how the pandemic has affected us personally.
This shared experience means we all recognize thanksgiving means more now. We didn't all arrive here in a ship or have to learn how to hunt and farm in a strange new land. Instead we've shared learning how to wash our hands, wear face masks and social distancing. Sadly many families have also suffered the loss of a loved one who won't be there to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family.
What We Have to Be Thankful For
We need to remember. We also want to consider what thanksgiving means now because ordinary things in our lives have taken on new meaning.
- Our family – including those we live with and those we celebrate holidays with.
- Our health – as I hope you and your family have weathered the pandemic safely.
- Our friends – who we now get to talk to on the phone, Skype, Zoom or gosh, the kids digital games now have chat capability too.
- Our homes – where we're spending a lot more time working at home, home schooling, cooking instead of eating out and so much more.
- Our jobs – so we can maintain our lifestyle as never before have Americans come face-to-face with the economic threats experienced this year. Unfortunately a lot of people haven't been so fortunate and hopefully we can help them.
- Front-line workers – who are helping us with critical resources like food and mail delivery, health care workers, teachers and others we depend on. Too often we take these people for granted and now we know who they are … so lets thank them!
- Your support team – including those who mow the lawn, clean the pool and more. Maybe you've held off with help cleaning your home until it's safe again. This might be the perfect time for every family member to take over new chores.
- Your community services – that create the environment you want to live in, including the library, community center, parks and yes, your favorite restaurants and stores.
Thanksgiving Means More Now
A traditional American Thanksgiving focused on family, food and lots of great conversations. This year we're making changes to keep everyone safe. Ideally you're not having a huge crowd for Thanksgiving as statistics say with groups of 10/more people, someone has Covid-19 (read: Celebrating Thanksgiving During a Pandemic).
You can still celebrate with your family and friends, anywhere in the world … as long as they have an Internet connection. You can use Facetime (on Apple devices or PC), Skype (see below, no download required), Zoom or one of the many other digital tools available today … and most are free.
The Giving in Thanksgiving
When you compare the house you live in today, to the first houses the pilgrims lived in, you realize you're living in luxury. Hopefully you've not had to make many sacrifices during the pandemic but there are millions of people living with food insecurity today. They rely on food banks for most of their food including Thanksgiving diner.
That's why we want to remember the “giving” in Thanksgiving. It's up to us to share what's good in our lives, and help make this holiday better for someone else. Giving isn't hard or expensive. My friend told me last night she took half her pumpkin pie over to an elderly neighbor's home knowing they wouldn't have much for Thanksgiving diner.
So here are some ways to help those in your community who are food insecure and/or losing their homes due to the pandemic.
- Feeding America – is an amazing organization. They're able to turn a donation of $1 into $9 worth of food. They have 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries. You can volunteer time, donate or try their gifts that fight hunger.
- Food for the Poor – is similar to FeedingAmerica. They also build new homes and provide cement for foundations, install windows plus furnishings that help turn a house into a home … in the Caribbean and Latin America.
- EPA is helping too – with their focus on reducing food waste by channeling it to hungry people. There are also new startups like ImperfectFoods that are delivering perfectly healthy (not pretty) foods to your home, to reduce food waste.
Wishing you a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving!