Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, celebrated by Americans and Canadians in the autumn, and now adopted by many across the world looking to use the time to celebrate family, friends, and gratitude. While being thankful is something that we should strive to practice all the time, setting aside a special day to reflect and celebrate all we have to be grateful for can be a restorative and fulfilling activity.
Especially in recent years however, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with the start of holiday shopping season, with many brands and companies taking advantage of "Black Friday" deal seekers, turning the day of thanks into yet another corporate holiday exploited for sales. Spending money on material goods can sometimes feel like the antithesis of what Thanksgiving is really all about - where we should appreciate all that we already have.
So how can we recapture the essence of this special holiday, and keep the true meaning of Thanksgiving alive?
Practice giving in a more sustainable way
While it can feel good to be giving in the sense of buying gifts for others, generic gifts and rampant consumerism doesn't always feel good by way of being sustainable. Instead of spending money on Black Friday specials, perhaps supporting a charity or special organisation of your choice on Giving Tuesday may be the real way to show support, be giving, and also be sustainable at the same time.
By supporting small or local organisations, you can ensure that you are giving back to your greater community, or helping to provide access to programs and information to people who are underserved or underprivileged. You don't need to purchase physical things in order to be considered "giving." In fact, many of your loved ones would appreciate a gift of a contribution made in their name to a worthy cause that continues to help others all year round.
Be more present in being thankful
Giving Tuesday is a great way to truly reconnect with gratitude and return to the roots of what the Thanksgiving holiday is really about. When we become aware of charities and organisations whose values and missions we support, we can become more aware of our own values and return to a centered place of self awareness.
We can use this time of year to remember what we want to stand for and the kinds of things that we want to associate ourselves with. By choosing to support small business, or making a choice to be more charitable, we can really emulate the values of giving and selflessness. We can then feel good about helping others, but also take the opportunity to reflect on what we can appreciate about those around us, and the things that make our lives more fulfilling.
When we think about the holiday season and the meaning of Thanksgiving, we should remember the importance of expressing gratitude. But also just as important, we should truly be giving, and not just in the sense of buying gifts. When we support small organisations and charities especially through special days like Giving Tuesday, we ensure that our wider community continues to be supported, that those in need can have the help that they deserve, and we can feel good about actually supporting something sustainable and valuable all year round.
Image: AdobeStock © janifest