10 Ways to Give Thanks if You Can't Get Home for Thanksgiving - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life Faith
November 20, 2017

10 Ways to Give Thanks if You Can't Get Home for Thanksgiving

Maybe the price of plane, train, or bus tickets has placed a trip home for Thanksgiving out of reach this year. Maybe your car is acting up and you don’t trust it to be reliable on a long road trip. Perhaps the thought of traveling in snow and ice has you wondering if you should just hunker down and stay on campus this year. It’s not always possible to get home for the holidays when you’re away at school. But it is possible to discover heartwarming ways to celebrate the holiday of gratitude that will keep your spirits high and loneliness at bay.

1) Ask a classmate’s family to adopt you for the holiday. There’s usually always room for one more at the Thanksgiving table, and chances are good that your friend’s family would love to get to know you and welcome you into their home.

2) Put on your apron and volunteer to help prep Thanksgiving meals. Find a local church or charitable group that serves an annual community meal, and put your culinary skills to work in the kitchen chopping vegetables, washing fruit, and carving turkeys and hams. If cooking isn’t your forte, offer to help serve or bus tables and clean up.

3) Deliver Thanksgiving Day meals to homebound individuals through organizations such as Meals on Wheels or the Salvation Army. One three-hour shift commitment from you could bring incalculable joy to a senior or an ill person who would otherwise not be able to celebrate with a delicious meal.

4) Volunteer to sort through thrift store donations. Many charities with thrift stores receive a high volume of donations during the holiday season. There’s an even greater need for volunteers to process these donations and get them out onto the shop floor for sale.

5) Crowdfund a charitable cause. If social media is your strong suit and you have more “friends” and “connections” than you can count, put your networking skills to good use by creating a GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Rally page. Choose a charitable cause or organization that’s close to your heart, and promote it over the holiday season to see how much cash you can raise for gifts, clothes, meals, or supplies. This is a great way to give back for people who can’t physically volunteer.

6) Care for animals at your local shelter. Even though your nearby animal shelter is probably closed for the holiday, dogs still need walking and cats still need cuddling. Reach out to smaller rescue groups that often find one or two dedicated volunteers stuck doing the work of 10 people over the holidays. They will be very grateful for your help.

7) Feed a family in need. Adopt a family through a local church or community outreach organization and supply them with all of the fixings needed for a fabulous Thanksgiving meal.

8) Lift holiday spirits in a nursing home. Many elderly residents have no family nearby and find the holidays to be the loneliest time of the year. It’s easy to feel forgotten and unwanted. Contact a local home and ask if you can bring your guitar, help with decorating, or share home-baked desserts with the residents.

9) Start your own holiday tradition. Come up with something that holds special significance for you and expresses the spirit of the day. Maybe it’s making a list of 10 things you’re most grateful for and reading it aloud to someone. Maybe it’s a one-hour nature appreciation walk after dinner. Create a new tradition that you can practice every year and one day you can integrate into your own family’s celebration.

10) Phone home (or Skype) at a prearranged time so that you have the chance to visit with everyone gathered together back home and share some love and warm wishes.

If you’d like to learn about the biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.