While food is at the forefront of most (if not all) Thanksgiving celebrations, it’s important not to lose sight of the “giving” part of Thanksgiving. In keeping with a food-focused theme, here’s a quick look at six ways you can use food to show your gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Invite People Over for a Meal

A great act of kindness this holiday season is to extend a Thanksgiving invitation to someone who is going through a tough time. This time of year can be difficult for many, and this is a great way to reach out to someone in the spirit of thankfulness. You could also consider inviting people in your community who don’t have a family of their own to be with on Thanksgiving. Sharing a meal with others provides them with companionship and a nice respite from whatever may be going on in their own daily lives.

Donate to a Family in Need

Whether you deliver a home-cooked meal or donate new or gently used toys, furniture, and clothing to a charity organization of your choice, giving to those less fortunate is a great way to show your thanks this time of year.  Another option is to reach out to your local food pantry and provide food to a family who would like to prepare their own meal but needs financial assistance in purchasing food items.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

We know that gratitude can increase one’s happiness and perspective and Thanksgiving is a great time to give back to others. Volunteer opportunities are plentiful through the holiday season. Cooking and serving food at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter is a great exercise for families to do together, and a great way to model and teach an attitude of generosity and thankfulness.

Take Advantage of Catering

Take advantage of a catering service to prepare your family’s Thanksgiving meal (or donate this service to a family that could use it!) and use the time typically spent shopping, cooking, and cleaning doing something special with those you love. Having a meal catered allows family members to sit back and relax and just enjoy the holiday. It can greatly reduce the stress of planning and preparing if it is within your means to let someone else handle the heavy lifting.

Involve Your Children

Food gifts are a thoughtful and easy way to show thankfulness and a sincere appreciation for others. Baked goods are simple to produce and can be wrapped and tagged with appreciation notes and delivered to teachers, neighbors, hospitals, nursing homes, and friends. Kids often enjoy making edible gifts and then donating them to those in need.

Sharing is Caring

This may seem a little bold, but families dining out at Thanksgiving can watch for others who are eating alone and offer a seat at their family’s table. No one really wants to spend the holiday alone, and food has a unique way of bringing people together. Sharing a meal often creates long-lasting friendships, business relations, and even love stories.

How are you going to show your thanks this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments.