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Five free ways to put the "thanks" back in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner

By Kim McGrigg, Community and Media Relations Manager

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for friends, family, and the good fortune you’ve experienced throughout the year. As this holiday is the perfect opportunity for you and your family to express gratitude for all you have, we’ve created a list of five free activities to help you and your loved ones reflect the true reason for the season and put the “thanks” back into your Thanksgiving holiday:

Create thank you cards. Have craft material on hand and encourage family members and guests to create a thank you card for someone who has influenced their lives in a positive way during the past year.

Teach kids about the first Thanksgiving. Make sure they understand that the holiday was originally a celebration to commemorate the creation of a new government. Talk about patriotism and the importance of feeling connected to one’s country.

Create a thankful list. Encourage guests to share their list of things they are thankful for. Take turns going around the table announcing at least one great thing that brings joy to life.

Volunteer. Find volunteer opportunities and give back to your community and to the less fortunate. Soup kitchens, nursing homes, and faith based organizations generally need more volunteers during the holiday.

Offer a thankful toast. Invite each guest to toast someone sitting around the table. By expressing gratitude for those close to you, you will strengthen the bonds of friendship and love that your family shares.

Make this year’s holiday the most memorable Thanksgiving of all by creating new traditions that promote a deeper sense of gratitude and awareness of the needs of others. Giving thanks at Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to close the year in preparation for the year to come.

For more ideas on how to have a wonderful, thrifty Thanksgiving download our free ebook!


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When thinking about holiday spending, most people typically fast-forward to December’s big budget busting holidays. However, it pays to think thrifty all season long—starting with Thanksgiving.


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Mind over money

Give thanks regardless of your financial situation

When taking the steps to improve your financial situation, one of the biggest hurdles you will encounter has nothing to do with money and everything to do with your mindset. And with the holidays swiftly approaching, it’s important to remember that the power of positive thinking isn’t something that should be underestimated.

Stress – especially financial stress – is commonplace during the holiday season; however, you can control the impact it has by making a conscious decision to focus on the positive. This is always easier said than done, so here are a few tips to help you keep your mind and your money on the right track:

Set realistic goals. Take some time to sit down and really think about your financial goals. It’s always best to start small. Set yourself up for success by setting realistic goals on reasonable timelines. If you set an unrealistic goal right out of the gate you’re more likely to feel discouraged if you don’t reach it.

Celebrate your achievements. Allow yourself to take pride in your accomplishments – no matter how small they may seem. Congratulate yourself for sticking to your monthly budget or even for taking the initiative to create a monthly budget. The satisfaction you get from these achievements will help you build upon your success.

Accept the fact that you aren’t perfect. You will face setbacks that will threaten to derail you. These are an inevitable fact of life. But regardless of when or where you get sidetracked, you don’t have to give up and admit defeat. We all make mistakes, and that’s OK. If you ever feel discouraged you can listen to our new podcast series featuring inspirational success stories from some of our clients.

“Today I am thankful for _____.” Get in the habit of forcing yourself to complete this sentence with a different word every day. This will give you the opportunity to shift your mindset from focusing on what you don’t have to focusing on what you do have. This is a great practice for those times you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. It’s a simple task that will help you take a step back and re-assess your priorities.

Download our free eBook: Managing Debt to Improve Your Mental Wealth. This resource will help you better understand the far-reaching impact of financial issues. If you understand the way debt impacts your entire life – from your relationships to your health – it can help you understand the feelings you may be experiencing. It’s a great starting point to ultimately making the necessary mental changes that will allow you to succeed on the journey to financial wellness.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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