November is my favorite month; both of my kids were born in November, so we have lots to celebrate this month and Thanksgiving happens to be our favorite holiday. Now, Halloween is done, we automatically go into planning mode trying to figure out – the menu, who to invite, who will be hosting his year, how to decorate the table, and what to wear for our family portraits. But, let’s pause for a second and think about what Thanksgiving is about. It’s beyond just eating turkey, enjoying a few days, and of course, Black Friday shopping. Thanksgiving should serve as a reminder to show gratitude for what we have in our lives: wonderful friends, family, the food we have on the table, and the jobs we have that fuel our lives living in Orange County – beautiful homes and scenery. Thanksgiving is also about appreciating the diversity around us, we’re lucky to live in Orange County that’s a melting pot, we are surrounded by a variety of cultures and religions.
It’s equally important to instill this in our kids, so this thanksgiving, make it a tradition to remind the kids of what they have and practice gratitude. These are a few ways to help with this.
Set up a Gratitude jar during Thanksgiving, have all your guests write something on a piece of paper, and toss it in a jar. After the meal, one designated person will read the response after dinner.
Have the kids write a gratitude journal daily, the few days they have off, if the kids are too young to write, have them draw something there are grateful for.
Get involved in a charity as a family
Use this time to pause and help the needy within Orange County, there are a lot of organizations need volunteers to serve meals or donations to replenish their food pantries. This is a great way to involve the kids and give back to the community.
Make a delicious ethnic dish for Thanksgiving
Appreciate the surrounding diversity and make a dish from a different culture. This exposes kids and families to different cultures through food. Or you can make a traditional dish with a variation (instead of green bean casserole, make stir-fried green beans instead).
Check up in the surrounding community
Check up on neighbors, especially the elderly, will they have a meal on Thanksgiving? If not, offer to invite them over or send some food over, this builds strong community ties and promotes empathy in kids.
Donate and help the unfortunate.
Have your children, go through their toys and clothes and make it a good time to donate to the less fortunate children, this is a great way to keep the kids busy and collect goods that can help less fortunate families in Orange County during the holidays. Search local organizations that are seeking gently used toys and clothes.
Hope this helps the objective is to instill a mindset of being thankful for what they have, this helps boost happiness, practice mindfulness and above all stay humble and grounded.