I always struggle a bit with this time of year…It’s supposed to be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” as the song says. But to me, it means STRESS…shopping (hate the mall), presents (what to get?), shipping (long line at the post office), Holiday cards (who invented this form of torture!), parties, and much much more. Oh no wait, it’s supposed to be about spending time with family and friends, casually strolling the mall while drinking a Starbucks, home made comfort foods, baking, and GIVING THANKS. And this is where I’m going today.
I decided this year I will put all stress aside and focus on what I can do with my family so we can all remember how blessed we are and so we can teach our kids about being thankful and grateful for all we have.
So here are 5 great things you can do with your family this Thanksgiving Season:
1) Visit a Hospital- Visit a local hospital and visit sick patients or make dinner for family members. Always call ahead, as hospitals have different volunteer policies. For children’s hospitals, you can call the units and ask for the Child Life Specialist; they often handle volunteers and may have some additional ideas. At our hospital, the Ronald McDonald House coordinates volunteers that come to provide meals for parents of patients (nurses and doctors too!), who most definitely appreciate a home cooked meal! If you are in our area, the number for CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital is 949-365-2401 or you can contact the Orange County Ronald McDonald House at http://ronaldhouseoc.org/
2) Run a Turkey Trot- Turkey Trots are races (run or walk) for all ages that often benefit local charities. They are usually planned on or around Thanksgiving Day. To find a turkey trot near you, click here to check by zip code http://www.active.com/running/. Our local turkey trot, the Dana Point Turkey Trot, has over 12,000 racers running or walking 10K, 5K open, 5K masters and the kid’s gobble wobble race. For more info check out http://turkeytrot.com/.
3) Serve Dinner at a Homeless Shelter- Homeless shelters are always in need of volunteers, especially around the Holidays. Go as a family and spend part of the day helping others. You can start by clicking here http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/ for the Homeless Shelter Directory to find homeless shelters in need in your area.
4) Deliver a Meal to the Needy- This is another great opportunity to help out people in need, who otherwise would not receive a Holiday meal. Consider volunteering with your local Meals on Wheels Program and bring a meal to someone who might not be able to join family or friends. For more information, click here http://www.mowaa.org/page.aspx?pid=396.
5) Invite a Neighbor or Classmate- Maybe you know someone who has no family in town and will not be able to otherwise have a Holiday meal. Invite them to Thanksgiving dinner with your family.
So get your family involved this Holiday Season and share with others who might find this useful! Do you have a family tradition of volunteering?