By Guest Blogger Tracy Huneycutt
Hardly anyone would argue that we are living during uncertain times. These last two years have been challenging on many levels. Many are stressed and over-worked at their jobs, unsure about the direction of our economy, at odds even with those they are close to about how to handle Covid-19 from here. And while it might be tempting to go into our shells and wait out this time of turbulence, each of us is needed by the other, now more than ever. We are all craving moments of kindness, giving, and selflessness when we experience periods of hopelessness. We can be the small change in someone’s day that switches their mood from melancholy to hopeful.
Gratitude and giving can be provided to others on many levels; some in a monetary type of way, and others being completely free. If you are looking for ways, however large or small, however expensive or inexpensive, to make giving to others or showing your thankfulness a simpler and more prevalent part of life, here are a few ideas on how to do so.
At the start of every year, purchase several $25-$50 gift cards to popular stores and restaurants that you personally enjoy frequenting. Keep them on-hand in a secure place for last-minute emergency gifts for others, for needs that may come up in the coming year. If you do not use them all at the end of the year, you can spend them on yourself (no financial loss!)
Stock up on Gifts
When asked to buy gifts or treats from someone you know for something like a school or organization fundraiser, consider buying a few extras to have on-hand to give to others. For instance, many schools host a fundraiser with frozen foods of some kind, like chicken pies. If you have the freezer room to hold a few extra meals, not only are the extra funds helping the school, but the meals can be given to friends and family who may need a meal after a hospital stay, after a death in the family, or after having a new baby.
We have all heard the rumors that Christmas gifts may be out of stock or delayed this coming holiday season. This is a perfect time to hit up a pop-up market to buy homemade Christmas gifts for family members, all the while supporting local artists and vendors.
Give Your Time
One may think that they cannot make a difference right now if funds are tight, or if there is job or financial uncertainty in the home. We can give our time to others when we are unable to give financially. One can get involved in a local organization and host a fundraiser. Getting a community involved by providing items from businesses, donations of goods or food, and spreading the word about an event is possible with the right heart and attitude to make a difference. Enthusiasm for a good cause is contagious. One could organize a fun run or a local festival of some kind to raise money for an organization they are passionate about.
Similarly, one could make a difference to others by volunteering to help a neighbor rake leaves or shovel snow, plant a community garden, collect canned items for the local food pantry, or coach a youth sports team. Getting your family involved in the cause is also a rewarding way to spend time together. The personal feelings of accomplishment reaped from helping others, encouraging others, or making the lives of others easier may be worth more than any financial payoff.
Offer gratitude to others when they do something kind for you. Being provided a sincere “thank you” is such a blessing to the giver. Several months ago, we passed on my son’s Power Wheels that he had outgrown to some friends with a younger son. On their first day with the toy, then several more times over the summer, my friend would send me pictures of her son enjoying it, thanking me so much each time. It made me feel so full of joy to see someone else loving a toy that had also brought us much happiness! I appreciated her time in showing genuine thankfulness.
Hold the Door for Others
Hold the door open for others. Whether you have to wait a few seconds for them to arrive at the door, whether male or female, whether they are pushing a stroller or by themselves, whether young or old…. No matter the circumstances, show this kindness to others. My son and I make a constant point to hold the door for others, and are always blessed by the joyful surprise of others in being shown respect and patience.
Gratitude and thanksgiving become a natural and established part of our lives the more we practice them. They are a blessing to the giver and the receiver alike. We can be the change others need to find a reason to smile or to keep pushing through.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving and holiday season!
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