It’s not rare that thoughts of shopping, cooking, entertaining and dressing up everything from the dining table to your hair will supersede those of less fortunate during the grand annual family Thanksgiving get-together. It’s also the last long weekend some families would enjoy—at home or tucked away in their cottage—before the brutal winter sets in. However, when you express gratitude to your family, friends and acquaintances for the difficult times they pulled you out of, or the moral support they extended by just being there to listen and empathize, take a moment to consider the lack of opportunity or blessings the deprived, homeless or needy may be confronting at that very instant. Spare a thought, and maybe some food or gifts, for the elderly lounging in loneliness as the fast pace of life leaves them behind. Visit a shelter to engage people on the fringes of society, most often forgotten and taken for lost.
Even if you are alone, wondering how to celebrate this glorious time of the year, consider going for a walk in the woods. Nothing compares to thanking nature for the bounty of blessings bestowed on us generation after generation. Collect some fall-colored leaves as souvenirs and start a scrap book. If you live close to a beach, pick out some nice shells and smooth stones as souvenirs to carry back home. Remember, gratitude doesn’t necessarily have to be towards humans, so cuddle up with your pooch and whisper some heartwarming things into their ears.
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.