Although this time of year lends itself to gratitude moments, I still find it necessary to encourage thankfulness in myself and in my family. Here are five ways to enrich your Thanksgiving season.
1. Create a gratitude basket
Every year before Thanksgiving dinner Tom asks the folks gathered for prayer to share one thing for which they are thankful. The answers are usually slow in coming and are much the same year after year. Not that we aren’t thankful for many of the same blessings every year, but I have the feeling that not much thought has gone into the comments. The aromas of the meal are interfering.
This year I placed a wire basket in the dining room. Next to it I added a pen and some cards I created with my scrapbooking supplies. Each of our children, and anyone who stops by to visit, is encouraged to write down something they are thankful for and place it in the basket. This is an ongoing activity until Thanksgiving when Tom will read the cards before dinner. Part of the fun will be guessing who wrote each comment. Then we can thank the Lord of Blessing.
2. Show gratitude for the servants in your life
Thank someone for their service to you throughout the year. Send the people who make your life a little more meaningful a note of appreciation–the person who styles your hair, the nice clerk who always bags your groceries, the greeter at church who always remembers your name. Even better, send a copy of your note to their supervisor!
3. Gratitude with a smile and a visit
Use the season to plan and prepare a gift basket for an elderly person in town who might not have family nearby. Include an extended visit when you deliver the gift basket. Take your kids. You’ll be delighted at how much older folks enjoy visiting with children. It puts “life” back into their day.
4. Start a gratitude journal
This is an unique way to compile a record of your family’s growth in gratitude. During the month of November and throughout the year, ask each person at dinner what they are grateful for that day. Write their comments in a journal.
You can also create a gratitude journal on your own. Recently I found my gratitude journal from 20 years ago. I had forgotten so many of the blessings written there. What fun to read them again and remember the circumstances where the holy touched my journey.
5. Basic gratitude: call your mom and dad
Both my folks are gone now. I wish I had phoned them more often and thanked them for the wonderful memories they created for me. Although I had a great relationship with each of my parents, talking with them and sending little cards weekly, I don’t think I honored them as much as I could have. Random phone calls of appreciation are one way to honor your parents.
What do you do to encourage gratitude moments in your life and in the life of your family? Click on “comment” below and share your thoughts with us.