What Does it Mean to Give Thanks?

As November approaches, we all have a beloved holiday to look forward to: Thanksgiving. This is the time of year when we get to see our family and loved ones to share in food and bonding. It’s also a time of year to give thanks– thanks for all of the things we’re lucky enough to have and thanks for all the people around us. But what does it truly mean to give thanks, and how do we do it during the holidays? Well, there are several different ways, but one way to give thanks is to give back.

Thanksgiving Traditions

The story of Thanksgiving we were all taught as children isn’t entirely accurate– in fact, it’s probably almost completely wrong. But this doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving traditions aren’t important. The celebration of the harvest has been around far longer than Thanksgiving as been a national holiday, as has the concept of giving thanks. In modern times, many families have their own traditions that surround Thanksgiving. Many gather for the traditional meal with their various relatives who travel from all over. Others simply enjoy a day with their immediate family. Others may spend the day serving a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless or those in need. But whatever traditions your family has, this holiday is above all about giving thanks. And giving back to the community is a great way to give thanks.

The Purpose of Giving

Altruism is part of human nature. When we have more than we need, we feel good when we give away some of what we have to those who need it more. We’ve talked before about why we give here on this blog, but Thanksgiving giving is just a little different. Giving during the holidays is a common tradition, especially during Thanksgiving as we think about the things we’re grateful for in our own lives. While gathering with family and friends and celebrating with food and drink can be a wonderful way to show our gratitude to those closest to us, we should always consider those we aren’t as close to, and the less fortunate. We needn’t give up the traditions we hold dear, but adding something a bit altruistic to those traditions can be a great way to give thanks for what we have.

How to Give

Donating to charity is an easy way to give. You can donate your time, of course, in the form of volunteer work, but many people don’t have the time during the holiday season. Figuring out where to give can also be tricky. Always do your research before donating any amount to any organization, and make sure the money is going towards a good cause.

If you’re looking for a place to donate this year, consider Caritas Smile. We’re about to have our annual fundraiser and toy drive for our yearly trip to the Dominican Republic where we surprise local communities with holiday gifts. This fundraiser is a Masquerade Ball that will take place in Warwick, RI on November 16th and will feature performances, auctions, and raffles. It’s sure to be a fun night, but even if you can’t make it, you can still give. You can donate directly to the fundraiser through PayPal. Every bit counts, so whether you can donate a lot or a little, please remember to give this Thanksgiving and help support communities outside your own.

Emma Lasky is a Digital Marketing Manager at Caritas Smile, a non-profit service travel program dedicated to making positive impacts and sustainable changes for women and children in developing countries. As a burgeoning writer and content creator, Emma is passionate about raising awareness and activism to underserved communities around the world. To learn more about Caritas Smile, our mission, and maybe even take a trip yourself, visit our site.

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