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A couple has an affectionate moment during thanksgiving.

How to Show Meaningful Appreciation on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a warm and loving time of year for many parts of the United States, Canada, and some parts of the Caribbean Islands and Liberia. This holiday originally began as a day to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for the bountiful blessings that the universe provides.

While there may be some controversy surrounding this holiday, it truly is a time to practice appreciation and gratitude for the beauty, love, and bounty in our lives.

As a culture, we are always growing and learning, and many people now recognize that there are some problematic themes involved with Thanksgiving – including the tragedies that befell many Native and Indigenous people in the past. And while it is important to recognize these issues, we can also continue to look upon this day as a day of gratitude and celebration for the growth of our society and ourselves individually.

Any time that we come together to celebrate life and practice, gratitude is an especially healing time – a time of growth and recognition for life’s beauty. This is the time to spend with friends and family, the time to enjoy delicious food, and take turns naming the things that we’re grateful for. This day provides us with the opportunity to let go of some of the stress that we’ve all experienced this year, to take a moment to appreciate the connections, resources, and magic that occurs in our lives daily.

You can absolutely celebrate this holiday in any manner that brings you joy and peace – but if you want to switch it up a bit this year and try something new, keep reading! We’ve got the ultimate list of Thanksgiving activities that will allow you to celebrate and enjoy this holiday in the most appreciative, harmonious ways possible!

7 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Ethically & Joyously

1. Provide Meals for the Homeless

Giving back is one of the best ways to practice gratitude, especially on a holiday that involves food – a staple that many of our fellow citizens struggle to acquire. In fact, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for food banks, and your willingness to give your time will make sure that the operation runs smoothly and that we’re providing a hot, delicious meal for those in need.

You might also consider making a plate or two to take to anyone in your neighborhood that you recognize might need help during this holiday. Not only will you lift someone else’s spirits through your act of generosity, but you will also feel better about society as a whole knowing that you and so many others are willing to step up and help.

Looking for some Thanksgiving meal inspiration? Check out: How to Make Wild Rice, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffing

2. Celebrate Indigenous People

We often think of Native Americans or Indigenous people as one specific group, but the truth is that there are many groups, along with many languages and traditions. One of the most educational and interesting things you can do this year is to learn more about the Indigenous people of your own area – an activity made simple with the Native Lands App.

This application and website will teach you and your loved ones more about your area’s Native or Indigenous people, including the languages they speak. This is a great way to start learning more about other cultures, to discover more of their history and engage in some of the blogs and community.

3. Send Special Gifts in the Mail

Unfortunately, not everyone can spend time with those they love during the holidays – especially during this challenging year when travel is limited. You probably don’t want your extended friends or family feeling lonely and sad on a holiday meant for celebration and gratitude, making this one of the best days ever to send a special gift.

No one expects to receive a gift on Thanksgiving, which adds to the element of surprise!

Try sending flowers to your aunt or a gift basket to your cousin this year. Surprising, someone with an unexpected gift will make up, in part, for their spending the holiday on their own.

4. Send a Letter to a Loved One

Maybe you don’t have the spending money to send out bouquets or gift baskets – which is totally fine! Sending your love to someone doesn’t require spending any money at all, other than postage, of course. That’s right. We’re talking about snail mail!

When was the last time you got a letter or a card in the mail? And, more importantly, how happy did you feel in that moment? We’ve become so used to phone calls, text messages, and emails that we often forget about the beauty and simplicity of traditional correspondence.

Is there someone on your mind this year? Someone you might not be able to see over Thanksgiving? Make a homemade card or write a loving letter to surprise them on this holiday!

5. Practice Meditation

No matter how evolved you are emotionally, the holidays can be a challenging time of the year. You might feel down about the state of the world or the fact that you can’t see a certain friend or family member this year.

If something is bringing you down, you might feel even more stressed out for not appearing more grateful or appreciative.

Stop that cycle in its tracks by practicing meditation this Thanksgiving. Starting the day with deep breaths and the clearing of your mind to make room for an attitude of gratitude. Providing your mind with clarity will help you make the most of this holiday and enjoy your time with your friends and family more thoroughly.

We publish free daily, guided meditations that help soothe your soul, calm your mind, and guide your day with intention. Try one out this Thanksgiving!

6. Leave a Plate of Treats on Your Neighbor’s Doorstep

It might be hard to recognize when a neighbor is having a hard time, especially if they like to keep their hardships to themselves. But you might be surprised at how much joy you can send by simply giving the gift of nourishment and a home-cooked meal to someone that might be in pain.

Not only will you lift their spirits, but you will also enjoy the positivity that acts of kindness bring into your own sphere.

If you’re already spending days leading up to Thanksgiving preparing in the kitchen, this might be the best time ever to whip up an extra pot of brownies or an extra mound of mashed potatoes. Blessing someone else with your home-cooked, loving dish might be exactly what they need to bring their own gratitude up.

7. Practice a Thanksgiving Ritual

It’s no secret that gratitude increases our ability to manifest what we want out of life. It might be time to make your own Thanksgiving ritual to help you get into the spirit more easily. Your ritual can include anything you desire, from burning incense and sage to making a list of everything you’re grateful for.

This year, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 26th. That gives you plenty of time to gather energy and supplies for the ritual that will bring you the most joy. Think about your life activities that encourage you to feel grateful and balanced in life, and then think about how you can incorporate those ideas into your very own Thanksgiving ritual!

Making a list of everything you’re grateful for, followed by a list of everything you want to attract in life, is an excellent idea for a Thanksgiving ritual. And what’s even better is that practicing gratitude makes it easier to attract those things into your sphere.

Light a few candles, grab your favorite notebook, pour yourself a cup of tea with apple and cinnamon, and allow yourself to soak in the energy of this warm, loving holiday.

Give Thanks on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for love, family, friends, appreciation, gratitude, good food, and celebration. This is a time to discover what you love about life and revel in those things, a time to give thanks for the many blessings that the universe has sprinkled onto our lives.

During this holiday season, take the time to pause and reflect. We live in a fast-paced world that often has us on the go, and allowing yourself a moment of relaxation and reflection may be exactly what you need to embrace this holiday season with all of your spirit.

Spend time with those you love, take a moment to practice gratitude, and let your friends and family know how much you appreciate them!

Related article: How to Practice Daily Gratitude

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle is a student and freelance writer who, from the time she began penning letters to the moon, knew she wanted to spend her life writing. She has written for such publications as Self-Love Soup and Astrology Answers. She is a late bloomer who decided to return to college... Read More

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