The beauty of Thanksgiving is that it gives us a chance to push the pause button on our busy lives and reflect on the blessings we have, the people we love, and the freedoms we enjoy.
Since you have reached adulthood, you’ve got many Thanksgiving holidays in your history. Most were probably delightful, perhaps some were disappointing. Whatever your memories of Thanksgivings past, now you have the opportunity to make this one the best ever.
Here are some ideas to make this year’s celebration exceptional:
1. Welcome someone who doesn’t have a place to go. Ah, look at all the lonely people—and you can make one of them less lonely by providing a warm welcome on Thanksgiving.
2. Write a thank you note to a long-lost influential person. Imagine how delighted your third-grade teacher or Little League coach will be when they receive an out-of-the-blue note from you.
3. Express gratitude to those close to you. Tell your friends and family members how much you appreciate them. A note to them, too, would be a nice touch.
4. Donate to a food bank or homeless shelter. There’s never a shortage of people in need, and you’ll realize how blessed you are when you offer help to those less fortunate.
5. Feed a homeless person. Make the previous suggestion even more personal: buy a sandwich or a bag of groceries and hand it off to the person on the street you might otherwise pass by.
6. Let kids’ enthusiasm rub off on you. Children love holidays and don’t try to restrain their excitement. Take a lesson from them and let your enthusiasm flow.
7. Offer a prayer of thanks. As theologian Meister Eckhardt wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
8. Take inventory. Set aside time to think through or write down all the blessings in your life, however large or small.
9. Make the effort to soothe a strained relationship. If you’re feeling tension with a friend, family member, or coworker, Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to reach out and try to heal the rift.
10. Look through your photos from the past year. You will be visually reminded of the wonderful people in your life and the memorable experiences you’ve had.
11. Take a nap. Catch up on your sleep, guilt-free. Snoozing on Thanksgiving is an honored tradition.
12. Enjoy the great outdoors. Pull on your sweatshirt or parka and spend time in nature. Winter has a beauty all its own—look around and be grateful.
13. Include your pets. Lots of singles are thankful for their animals, who offer companionship, friendly greetings, and unconditional love. Go on–make a special meal for your dog, cat, or ferret.
14. Appreciate your admirable qualities. Sure, Thanksgiving is mostly about being grateful for other people, but take some time to appreciate yourself, too.
15. Laugh loud and long. Laughter expresses joy and fosters it. Tell funny stories, watch hilarious videos, play silly games—whatever it takes to let loose. Laughter lifts your heart and binds you together with people you love.
How else can you make this your best Thanksgiving ever?