It’s the season of Thanksgiving and the week of Thanksgiving. There’s no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to give thanks. In the days leading up to the holiday, and in time with family, friends, coworkers, and others, here are seven practical ways you can say “thanks” to all of those around you at Thanksgiving.
Turn a sentence into a story. Often we show gratitude with a polite “thank you.” The next opportunity you have to thank someone, even if it is for something simple, turn two words into a story, to let the other person know you really mean it. For instance, if a person helps you clean up after a lunch event, say, “Thank you so much. This was a lot to clean and I’m grateful for the help. You really saved me some time getting everything put back the way it was before lunch.”
Write a thank you note. Forget a text or an email. If you want to say thank you with class and grace, pull out the stationery and take time to write a note. There’s nothing quite like getting a handwritten note in the mail, especially in the age of electronic everything. And to open it and find someone took the time just to say “thank you” in a personal way—it is well worth the time and effort.
Give the gift of thanks. A kind man in our church served as a door greeter. On the Sundays around Thanksgiving he went out and bought a supply of $5 Starbucks gift cards. He kept them in his pocket all morning, and on occasion, to 10-15 people he saw along the way, he pulled one out and gave it as a gift of thanks. He thanked several new friends he made in the last year, a few people who had been helpful to him, and others he just wanted to bless. A gift doesn’t have to be big and expensive; it really is the thought that counts. Take time to give a few gifts of thanks during the season.
Pay it forward. Go beyond just saying or writing thanks. Use that as an opportunity to serve someone else in the same way. If someone loans you $10 for lunch, be ready the next time around to help out the next person who left their wallet at home. When someone goes the extra mile on a project, look to do the same when you have the opportunity. Let your gratitude create an opportunity to serve another person as you actively seek out how you too can be helpful.
Use social media. Sometimes a shout-out online is a great way to say thank you—especially if it is to a larger group of people. Most people enjoy public acknowledgement if they were a part of a team effort. If your small group or coworkers did a service project together—like a food drive, highway cleanup, or visiting a nursing home—take a few pics on your phone, then send a thank you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. with a caption acknowledging your gratitude to be a part of a team that gives of themselves to others.
Flowers. This is a great way to brighten someone’s day and let them know how much you appreciate them. This doesn’t have to be expensive—you can go out and pick some wild flowers to make a small arrangement on your own, or if money is not a hindrance you can always have the professional florist do it for you.
Listen. Listening to someone you are thankful for is a powerful tool to express gratitude. In our fast-paced culture, people more and more long to be heard. Let your gratitude be an opportunity to stop, ask the person how they are doing, if they have concerns or needs, and to listen to them share what is on their mind.