Thanksgiving Is More Than Just … (November 2018)

A mentor, Ken Blanchard, once challenged me with this question, “What if you only had tomorrow the things for which you give thanks for today?” If that were the case, how little – or much – would you or I have left?

When you hear the word “Thanksgiving,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a large baked turkey, accompanied by many of your favorite festive dishes and shared with friends and family? Or is it something else? The older I get, Thanksgiving is more and more about giving thanks for all the blessings in my life and the lives of others. Same for you?

Other countries celebrate Thanksgiving, such as Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well everyone should. Our Thanksgiving, though, is a unique and core American holiday. In 1621, the first recognition of giving thanks in the New World was held as a celebration of the Pilgrim’s first harvest. The first Thanksgiving included Pilgrims and Native Indians and reportedly lasted for three days. Now that is some kind of celebration!

Apart from Christmas and Easter, Thanksgiving has become my favorite Holiday, and it can fly by without giving it the time and reverence it deserves. Do you feel the same? What if, this year, we tried at least one new way to celebrate Thanksgiving in keeping with its roots of truly having a thankful heart and spirit? How, you ask? How about the following list of ideas?

Thanksgiving Celebration Ideas for the Office

Here are a few ideas from Alexandra Hicks at the human resource specialist firm called Zenefits to kick off your office Thanksgiving celebration:

·         Organize a Team Activity–have an office potluck and assign each employee to provide a personalized gift of thanks to another member

·         Create a “Thank You” Wall–Post It Notes work great for this option. Create a “wall” to thank specific employees for something they contributed to the office. Encourage employees to write thank you notes concerning other members

·         Tell Your Story–dress up and perform a play about your company’s history

·         Compete in Festive Games–engage in Thanksgiving-related games, such as pumpkin bowling where the winner gets a free turkey or a homemade pie

·         Hold a Recipe Contest–have the employees make their favorite recipes. Everyone votes on the best dish and the winner gets a prize, such as to leave work early

·         Facilitate Volunteer Time–allow your employees to take time off for a volunteer project.  Make sure they share photos of their good deeds and post them in the office

·         Give Back as a Group–give back to a needy organization, such as a soup kitchen. Not only does it benefit the organization you are helping, it also promotes your business

·         Sponsor an Event–hold a community event, such as a dinner or silent auction, and donate the proceeds to the charity or charities of your choice. You can have all team members vote for the charity/charities to get them more involved in the process

·         Bring the Competition–instead of awarding prizes to winners of the Festive Games, make a donation in their name to their favorite charity

·         Use Your Expertise–use your company’s skill set to help others for free. For example, LinkedIn provides free resume counseling to military veterans

What a great and fun list for office Thanksgiving celebration! And, short of holding a three-day celebration, what are some other ways to give thanks personally? Certainly, being with family and friends and sharing a meal (or two) is a great way to spend the day, but what else can we do individually or as a family?

Opportunities to Give Back in San Diego on Thanksgiving Day

If you are in the San Diego area and would like to help those who are less fortunate on Thanksgiving Day, here are just a few of the many possible options to consider: 

  • The San Diego Rescue Mission in downtown San Diego will be serving meals. To learn more about volunteering visit their website, or contact Debbie Krakauer at (619) 819-1897 or
  • The San Diego Food Bank, (858) 527-1419, needs financial donations and volunteers. Or do the San Diego Run for the Hungry: a 5 or 10 kilometer (3.1/6.2 mile) run/walk in downtown San Diego to benefit the San Diego Food Bank.
  • Father Joe’s Villages is hosting a 5 or 10 kilometer (3.1/6.2 mile run/walk at Balboa Park, with proceeds helping the underprivileged.
  • If you live in North County, check out the Oceanside Turkey Trot. There will be a 5 and 10 kilometer (3.1, 6.2 mile) run/walk. Proceeds benefit Oceanside schools and charities.
  • If you are in the South Bay, not to worry, we’ve got you covered too. You can participate in the San Diego South Bay Turkey Trot & Food Drive. You can choose from three different distances as you run/walk/crawl to the finish line – 5, 10 or 15 kilometers (3.1/6.2/9.3 miles). Non-perishable food donations will also be collected for the Salvation Army.

Conclusion Give Thanks Every Day

Beyond that, giving thanks for our blessings can and should be something that takes place more than once a year. What would our world look like if we took a few minutes from our busy lives to remind ourselves of all the blessings that have been provided to us? And, as we bask in the warmth of all we have truly received on so many levels, as Americans we show our greatest appreciation by living out a life of gratitude … every day.

Giving thanks every day… not simply a single day… 

Wishing you and your family a happy, fun, memorable – and thankful Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble.

Imagine That™”!

 Written by R. J. Kelly – November 2018

Image credit: Woman eating meal at table with live turkey by Everett Collection on Shutterstock

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