The Season of Servicegiving


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Blame it on the pilgrims! We are about to experience Thanksgiving, at least in the U.S., in a very traditional way. It is an annual holiday designed for celebrating the “giving of thanks.” Yet, ask a group of second graders how you give thanks without saying words. They will give you servicegiving answers like, “do something really nice for someone,” and “surprise someone with a favor,” or “help someone out like they helped you out.”

Now, ask those same second graders about how we usually celebrate Thanksgiving. “We cook, and then we eat, and then we watch television, and then we eat some more…” There is little in their seven-year old innocent answers about giving thanks…beyond perhaps someone saying grace before sitting down to the super big, rich meal. Except for the TV part, it is just like the pilgrims supposedly celebrated their first Thanksgiving.

So, what can you do this Thanksgiving to do some servicegiving? I have a friend who prepares turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce–the whole works–and takes the gourmet meal to a needy family. I know someone else who spends Thanksgiving volunteering at the hospital so a regular staff member can have time off with his or her family. I read a story about a whole family—mom, dad and two teenage boys— who use Thanksgiving to clean up a local park, paint over graffiti, and visit nursing home residents.

How can you express your gratitude this season in service way, not just a culinary way? Instead of eating potato followed by getting in the position of a couch potato, serve someone! Let this season of Thanksgiving be your season of service giving!

Chip Bell
Chip R. Bell is the founder of the Chip Bell Group ( and a renowned keynote speaker and customer loyalty consultant. Dr. Bell has authored several best-selling books including The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service and, with John Patterson, Take Their Breath Away. His newest book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service, will be released in February.


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