5 Last-Minute Gestures of Thanksgiving

Photo by Elvert Barnes

Three days before Thanksgiving isn’t the ideal time to start thinking about how to give back to your community, right? The reality is we’re very busy people, and good will simply isn’t on the forefront of our Thanksgiving plan-making process—especially if we’re hosting X number of out-of-town relatives for the long weekend.

But I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late to do something. Here are a few quick things you can do that will show the tremendous gratitude you have for the good things you’ve received this year:

For Every Can You Buy For Yourself, Buy An Extra One to Donate

This can’t get any easier, and you end up collecting a good number of cans to donate to a local food bank. Odds are, your grocery store has a shopping cart or box by the registers where you can drop off your donated cans as you head out the store. So as you’re picking up a can of cranberry sauce or cream of corn, grab a second one to give away!

Lose the Loose Change Before You Get to Your Car

The familiar Salvation Army bells are ringing, reminding us it’s that time of year. But do something different this year! Set yourself a personal goal to always (or as much as possible) donate your loose change when you run into a Salvation Army volunteer. Grab the fistful of change from your pocket, and extend your hand before you go back out to the parking lot.

Grab the Good for Goodwill

Did you already pack your summer clothes and bring out the fall/winter collection? If so, or if you haven’t yet, weed out some of the easy-to-spot clothes you want to get rid of. You probably don’t have time to do a “deep cleaning” of your closet these days, but you do have a few minutes to pull out a sweater, a couple shirts, and pants you know you don’t want, and plop them into a bag for Goodwill. Find a store near you, and drop off the bag on your way home from the office.

Volunteer In the Morning Hours

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a well-earned day off where we can sleep in, binge on delicious food, and laugh with people we care about. While you’re snoozing the morning away, however, lots of volunteers are at local pantries stocking up food shelves, packing boxes, and delivering meals so needy families can have a pleasant meal on Thanksgiving. If you’re able to, sacrifice a few hours of sleep to help those in need. Check out a local food pantry to see if they have any events going on that you can sign up for. It’s a great way to interact with others in your community–and a fantastic way to teach your kids about generosity as they volunteer with you!

Set Apart $10 for Something You Really Care About

Is there a cause that you really care about? An issue you’d most certainly be more active in if you lived in an ideal world where there was time and energy for everything we like? Then I challenge you to a 5-minute break. Whip out your credit card, search for that cause, and make a small (or big) donation. If it’s that important to you, be sure to do something to show that organization you’re grateful for what they’re doing. And there’s no better time of year than now to show your gratitude!

What else would you add to this list of small things to show your gratitude this season?