Practical Ways to Show Your Gratitude
As we pause for just a moment and reflect on this Thanksgiving season here in the US, most of us, when we stop and think about it, have much for which we can be thankful, even during a pandemic.
Studies indicate that having an "attitude of gratitude" can have a positive impact on our success, our interactions with those around us, our health and wellness, even our longevity! So why don't we practice thankfulness more?
Well frankly sometimes it's hard to find practical applications to put into practice. The theory is sound, but what do we really do?
Sure, there are gratitude journals, there are recommendations for posting on Facebook 30 days in a row, but sometimes those feel more like “show-and-tell” than actions that demonstrate gratitude.
So I offer three simple tips to actually demonstrate gratitude this Thanksgiving season, and then, throughout the rest of the year, plus three bonus activities you can do with your families.
1 - Use your words.
Try the wild and crazy phrase "thank you". The applications are limitless!
- Thank you for being here today!
- Thank you for working so hard for our organization!
- Thank you for holding the door open for me because I had my hands full.
- Thank you for making time to share your opinion.
- Thank you for making supper tonight.
You see, we don't have to save up our thank you's for the big stuff. If we practice those two little words pretty frequently, the habit is quick to form. Oh and by the way - it's contagious.
2 - Give thanks.
This one is about expressing gratitude to someone in particular who has done something for you.
- Maybe it's a colleague or a coworker, a leader or an employee.
- Maybe it's a friend, or a fellow volunteer.
- Maybe it's a waitress or a bartender or the person who cuts your hair.
Give thanks to them in some tangible, deliberate and intentional way.
- Give a gift.
- Spend time with them.
- Send them a thank you text, or put a quick thank you note on the receipt when you sign it.
- Look them in the eye and thank them for something that they've done, and tell them how it affected you.
Perform a concrete and visible demonstration of your gratitude to them.
3 - Share.
Someone's mom once said, "if you have more than you need --oh, and by the way, you have more than you need -- you should share." A fun way to demonstrate gratitude is to give from your place of abundance.
- Did your apple trees or pumpkin vines produce more than you really need? Share. Donate some to a local food pantry, or share some with your neighbors.
- Were you able to afford some takeout? Tip generously! Share a few extra dollars from your place of abundance.
- More clothes in your closet, more shoes by the door, more blankets or towels than you really need? Share them, either with someone else who will really enjoy them, or with someone who really needs them.
- Blessed with a whole lotta skills in a particular area, or some extra time to volunteer? Share. Help someone else grow.
- Room in your Zoom this holiday season for an extra friend or two? Invite someone to join you.
Then, thank them for sharing their jokes, good or bad.
Bonus activity: Guess What You're Grateful For!
Have each family member write down one thing they're thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a vessel of some kind (just make sure the gravy boat's empty first - and preferably clean - if that's what you opt for), and pass it around. Or, if you’re virtual, add it to a spreadsheet, just make sure you’re all anonymous. After everyone's finished, take turns drawing out a slip, or picking a row, reading it aloud, and guessing the author!
Bonus activity: Thanksgiving Pictionary
Just like regular Pictionary, only the theme is gratitude. Split up into teams if you want, or just do it for fun--but the artist on the spot must draw something they're grateful for! The family's job is to guess right! Because really, if you can't play cheesy party games with your family, you're missing out.
Bonus activity: Tune in for the 2020 Blessing Report
Designate a film crew or a lone camera-kid and let them roam around the house, or use Zoom recording, to interview family members about what they're grateful for! This is really fun for kids, and at the end of the day, you'll have a great video to remember this Thanksgiving with! Post it on Social Media or send it to relatives who couldn't make it to share your family's blessings!
What about you? What do you do to show your gratitude around Thanksgiving or throughout the year? Let us know in the comments or on social media!