Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Season of Giving

Will our Thanksgiving tables be empty this year?
It has been a very hard year ... for some more so than others.  People in some states are still under harsh mandates, being denied the ability to see friends and family for Thanksgiving because of the threat of illness, and under a cloud of uncertainty about the country's future -- not to mention their own.

Perhaps this year, more than any other, Thanksgiving will have special meaning.  After experiencing hardship and deprivation, we see things with new eyes.  We appreciate so much more the things we do have.

Our freedoms have taken a beating this year, but we willingly allowed it to protect our community.  We cherish them even more now.

Our good health is even more precious than we ever appreciated before.  Our jobs, our homes, our security, and our way of life becomes even more of a treasure after being threatened.

We expect bushels of products
in our markets.
Everything we took for granted before ... store shelves stocked full of everything we could possibly want, the ability to stop at a restaurant anytime we were hungry, the ability to earn a paycheck, the ability to go visit our parents and grandparents ... were suddenly taken away from us out-of-the-blue.

But the signs are there that folks are calling forth positivity and better times.  Folks in our neighborhood started putting up their Christmas lights and decorations on November 1st, the very day after Halloween, ready to embrace cheerfulness and uplift others.  People have been starved for a reason to celebrate, to be joyful, so the Holidays couldn't start soon enough for all of us.  Driving around town, we're seeing lots of houses decked out in sparkling lights, lifting our hearts out of the doldrums.

In this season of giving, everything we have to be grateful for has become very clear.  We give of ourselves when we are generous with others, and provide comfort and aid to people in need.  Because it has been such a sobering time, now more than ever it is imperative that we reach out and give to others who may need help.  If some of us have managed to come through this period relatively unscathed, it is incumbent upon us to lend a hand to those who didn't.

  • Although some may still remain sheltered, reach out to them anyway.  Pick up the phone and make a phone call to someone you know who has been isolated.  People need human connection, and that phone call can make all the difference to someone who is alone during Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season.  Even better, Zoom, Skype or FaceTime them, if possible, for a face-to-face interaction.  Let them know they're thought of and missed.
    A cart full of nonperishable foods to donate.
  • Many people have lost their jobs during this pandemic.  Make sure to donate or write a check to a food bank.  Ask them what they need, and bring those items to them.  Now more than ever, these places will be looking for support so they can provide assistance to so many who need it.  If you know someone facing a hardship, leave a bag of Holiday staples on their doorstep, or offer to bring them a meal or two for their freezer.
  • Offer to drive or run errands for those who are house-bound.  Drive people to church or to appointments who haven't been able to use public transportation.
  • Send cards or correspondence.  Sending a letter to a friend or relative, near or far, is a wonderful way to reach out to people to let them know you're thinking of them.  Send a Thanksgiving card or simply write a letter of gratitude to the people you appreciate in your life, to let them know how you feel.
  • Bring cups of hot chocolate or coffee from a local coffeehouse to a neighbor who is an early riser, or loves their coffee.  Bring doughnuts or a homemade bundt cake to the friend with a sweet tooth.  Pick up take-out for an elderly relative or acquaintance who has a hard time cooking for themselves, or is recovering from surgery or any other physical ailment.
  • Invite someone going through a rough time to Thanksgiving dinner at your place, if they are comfortable with that.
  • Bring a Thanksgiving plate with turkey and all the trimmings to a shut-in.
  • Santa's helpers may not be around this year to ring bells and stand in the freezing cold with their red kettles, so be sure to donate to those organizations that provide aid and assistance to others year-round.
  • Volunteer at your local church to provide assistance in various forms, as needed, to the members of the parrish.
  • Give a small gift, just a token, to someone who may not be able to afford even little luxuries this year.
  • Though our smiles may be covered, practice sending a silent blessing to each person you encounter during your day.  Send them happiness, or love, or comfort, or peace.  Perhaps it has no effect whatsoever, but what if it does?  What if sending positive energy out into the world, to every person we pass during our day, has a positive impact on the world?  It might.  Don't forget to send these silent blessings to each member of your family, as well.
  • Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter, as well as bags of dog or cat food.
  • Fill the bird feeders, to make sure the birds don't starve this fall and winter.

The Season of Giving is upon us, and there are many ways to give.  Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks for what we have been given, and to share our largess with others.  The more we give to others, the better we feel about ourselves and humanity, in general ... and the better we feel, the happier we are.  

Feeling happy allows us to be even more thankful ... especially during the rough times.  We appreciate what we have more, and realize that others are not as lucky.  In times of hardship, it is especially important for those of us who have plenty to share with those who don't.

Finally, it's good to see people returning to houses of worship, wherever possible.  Masks on, socially distanced, but giving praise and thanks for their lives, their health, and their blessings.  It's a truly beautiful thing.

We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope you make the most of all the ways you can give thanks and give to others, so that we can all get through this difficult period together ... and look forward to better times to come.


Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

A 2-Page Spread for Thanksgiving
Some of our sweetest moments ...
Dessert Not Optional
Indulging your sweet tooth is not always a bad thing.
Black Friday
It's not just about shopping.  If you do it right, it can be about connecting, too.
Fall Planning
Time to make lists ... menus, recipes, family reunions, Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, parties, special events, carving time on the calendar.
Counting our blessings ... may they always be plentiful and abundant.
Taking Care of Holiday Guests
Breakfast burritos can make you a winning host!
Recipes for the Season
Update your repertoire with some new recipes for Fall!
Bucket List for Fall
Taking advantage of everything fall has to offer!
A Different Kind of Thanksgiving
Just can't stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Pie
Have you ever made a pie from fresh pumpkin instead of canned?  Do it!  It's not difficult and so worth it!
It's Baking Season!
On your marks,
get set ...
A Cabin in the Woods
Getting away from it all is a tradition worth keeping
Christmas Notes
There's always time to bake Christmas cookies!
Family Heritage Tour
A trip back to the old country in search of the abuelos
A Difficult Anniversary
A few years ago we lost our Mom.  It feels like it was just yesterday.  The anniversary of a great loss is always hard
It's All About Family
Giving thanks and honoring those who came before
My Boy
A tribute to Max
Bless the Beasts
Spreading goodwill upon the creatures we share this earth with ...
Back to the Farm
Fall is the time to head to the farm to pick pumpkins, visit the animals, go on a hayride, and sip hot cocoa by a bonfire
Brandied Fruit 
Time to put up your Brandied Fruit to marinate and mellow in time for the Holidays
National Cookie Day
December 4th is National Cookie Day!  Let's bake cookies!
Cookie Trays!
Our most popular gift and party tray, it's the perfect way to spread the Holiday cheer!
Wine Poached Pears
Perfect for fall, perfect for dessert, perfect on a cheese board, perfect in a gallette!
Pear Tart, Part Deux 
There's a time for rustic, and a time for elegant.
Crème de Vie
The Cream of Life!
A Rustic Tart for Fall
A free-form tart or galette with layered wine-poached pears is a perfect dessert for fall.
Our Latest Obsession:
Olive Oil ... once you find your favorite, nothing else will do!
Heirloom tomatoes ... the ugly ducklings / beautiful swans of tomatoes.
Baking Cakes
Basic baking tips for beautiful layer cakes
The Icing on the Cake
Does a bakery really need to make frosted layer cakes?
What's Your Favorite Cake?
If only I could pick just one!
Congrats, HWP!
Healing Warriors Program received a huge honor, and we were invited to the Pentagon to see it!
Ana's non-profit, Healing Warriors Program, gives away a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair!
Donate if you can!
Healing Warriors Program,
my sister's nonprofit, does very important work for our service members' complete health and wellbeing.

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