Five Gestures of Gratitude

Thanksgiving week is always an exciting time! Thoughts of Thanksgiving dinner (and dessert), sale shopping on Black Friday and upcoming holiday parties begin to fill our minds and our calendars.  Many of tend to overbook and squeeze in as much as possible in these few weeks of the year. But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, I can’t help but wonder…have we lost the heart of holiday?

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to pause and consider a few ways to show those who are important to you how grateful you are for them. Whether it is a hug or a helping hand, showing those you love the most will be more rewarding and memorable than even the tastiest turkey (smile). But because not everyone translates “love” in the same way, take the time to ponder how your near and dear will be the most receptive of your gesture of gratitude.

Actions Speak Louder: While you may prefer a token of appreciation in the form of a gift, others may prefer an act of service.  For example, your sister-in-law may want help in the kitchen chopping vegetables or plating the appetizers. Alternatively your brother may appreciate you watching the kids when he is watching the Sunday football game. Be it bringing a dish to dinner or clearing the table, going out of your way to take the load off someone else is a great way to say thanks and show your appreciation.

Write On:  Another heartfelt way to show your thanks is in writing.  These days, handwritten notes are few and far between. While texting and emailing may be easier, a note is a more personal way to show your loved one that you care. Reflect a bit on exactly why you are grateful for them and even mention an example of a time they were a blessing to you.  You can further personalize your gesture by picking a card that is not only attractive, but also appealing to the recipient. The beauty of this expression of thanks is that the recipient can place your card somewhere that reminds him or her of you and your gratitude.  (When someone writes me a note of thanks, I pin it on a bulletin board that is in my direct line of vision.)

Take Time Out:  We are all so busy and it’s easy to let time slip through our fingertips! Yet scheduling quality time with a loved one is a wonderful way to show someone that you care about – and are grateful – for him or her. Think about what this person likes to do.  Does your friend or family member enjoy going for a walk in the park?  Or does he or she like to luxuriate over a cup of coffee?  Or window shop…or gallery hop?  Take the time out of your schedule in the coming weeks, even if it’s for half an hour, and engage in an activity that other person enjoys. For someone that values quality time, this will translate into an act of appreciation. You can even use this time together to tell them how much they mean to you!

Wrap It Up: Another practical way to show someone that you are grateful for them is in gift giving!  Gifts are a great way to tangibly show a person that you care and appreciate them. Whether big or small, if the gift is thoughtful and from the heart, it will show. Think about what the person enjoys.  If your recipient is a foodie, a tasty treat is always welcome. Or if he or she is a nester, candles or flowers warm the home. Think about a book on a topic that interests him or her or pick up an item from their favorite store.  Alternatively give the person something of yours you think they would enjoy and share specifically why you want them to have it. Whatever it is, make sure your gift really resonates with the recipient.

Artfully Articulate: This one goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. Recognize the person and verbally thank him or her as soon as possible.  Set the stage by saying that you’d like to take a moment to express your thanks. And don’t just leave it at “thank you.” Gush a little – or a lot – and be specific. Tell the person exactly why the gesture meant so much to you.  Even more important, let the person know exactly how much they mean to you.  Remember to toot their horn by acknowledge their talents, strengths and the profound impact they have on you. Make sure your thank you is not only heard but “felt” by the recipient.

Whether it be a note, gift or time together, one simple gesture of gratitude has the potential to not only lift the spirits of someone else, but also your own. What’s more you’ll find your gesture of gratitude is contagious! There is a divine domino effect when we express our thanks, as others are often inspired to do the same. And what better week than this one to spread an attitude of gratitude?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours~

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