1. Embrace New Traditions and Try New Recipes
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I grew up having the same Thanksgiving meal every year, with little variation. I appreciated this and was sad when I didn't have the opportunity to partake in the familiar goodness. However, I have learned to enjoy creating our own traditions and scouring Pinterest for new and fresh ways to make comforting favorites. So, this year, while you are away from your family, brainstorm new and fun ways to create the dishes, come up with fun new games you can play, or ask the kids how they would like to spend the day. Perhaps, spend the morning writing out thank you/love notes for the family that you miss so dearly. Without the limitations of family obligations, the sky's the limit. Here is a list of fun Thanksgiving games you can try. Pick your favorites and make it a new tradition to play every year.
2. Volunteer Your Time
"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35
As we all know, the needs of the less fortunate are year-round; however, in our American society, it tends to be more recognized around the holidays. So, this year, reach out. Visit the website of your local rescue mission and sign up to serve. If you are not around family, you won't have the obligation of planning around family events. You will be free to serve on or around Thanksgiving. It may pull you out of whatever funk you have fallen into while being sad about your family and give you a fresh perspective on the blessings that surround you.
A good resource is Feed America. They have thousands of opportunities all over the country to help you give back. Whether it is volunteering at the local food bank, serving food at a local shelter, or organizing a food/clothing drive. There are many things you can do to shift your focus to others less fortunate. In Ephesians, Paul teaches us that living for Jesus means putting others before ourselves.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Ephesians 2:3-4
Photo credit: © Getty Images/Valeriy G