Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving: Creative Ways For Teens To “Give Back” This Year

Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving: Creative Ways For Teens To "Give Back" This Year

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, but somewhere along the way we all seem to forget the true meaning and becoming engulfed in turkeys, Autumn centerpieces, football, and Black Friday sales. This year is as good a year as any to start getting back to the root of the holiday and instilling the true meaning of Thanksgiving into your teens.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to teach your teens to give back to their communities – and help out those less fortunate during the holiday season. Most kids would rather play football and binge on some home-cooked meals than spend the day doing for others, so we put together a list of ideas to help you get your kids into the giving spirit and make “giving back” fun.

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Delivering Dinner Plates

For some reason, on Thanksgiving everyone and their brother wants to work in a soup kitchen and serve food to strangers to give back. Not only is there a waiting list just to get in to volunteer at shelters on Thanksgiving, but there are most likely some people right in your neighborhood that would love a home-cooked meal and for whatever reason are unable to prepare one for themselves, or don’t have family to eat with. This Thanksgiving, before your kids sit down to eat dinner, make some plates for some of the older folks in your neighborhood and have your kids deliver them.




Raise Money For a Charity

The Salvation Army has bell-ringers strategically planted all over town during the holidays, collecting money. Sit down with your kids and have them pick out a charity that is near and dear to their hearts, and have them take up collections. Obviously, you don’t want your children begging strangers for money in front of the supermarket. But take them door to door in your neighborhood, or have them hit up relatives and explain the charity they are collecting donations for and why they chose that one.

Clothing Drives

Every year during the holidays, local and national organizations are collecting gently used warm clothing and winter coats for the needy. And, you can kill three birds with one stone. You can finally have an excuse to force your kids to go through their crowded closets and part with some stuff that no longer fits them or never gets worn. Plus, it will keep them busy while they have time off from school. And, you of course teach them a valuable lesson about sharing the wealth and warmth with those less fortunate.

Thank-You Cards

Thanksgiving is all about “giving thanks.” So, over Thanksgiving break have your kids sit down and write out Thank-You cards for everyone that has made an impact in their lives in the past year. Whether it is a kind boss at their job, a teacher, a sports coach, their doctor, etc. Either way, a personal thank-you card goes a long way – and will certainly brighten someone’s day and help them feel appreciated.

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4 Comments
  1. Jacqui Odell says

    I love the idea of Thank you cards!! I love sending (and getting) cards.

  2. valmg @ Mom Knows It All says

    These are all great suggestions. Also before he actual day encouraging kids to help collect canned goods for a local drive or food pantry is a great way to teach them how to be thankful while making a difference in the community.

  3. Marcie W. says

    What great ideas! My oldest is looking for ways to add community service to her magnet high school applications, so these are especially helpful.

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