Part 2 of The Power of Gratitude continues. Read Part 1 here.
Now that you’re thinking of all those people you wish to thank, here are additional ways to show appreciation. And anytime you say “thanks,” be sure to tell that person specifically what it is you appreciate about him or her.
- Take a surprise dinner to a friend who helped you through a tough time.
- Give an after-the-party survival kit (stain remover, paper towels, and a gift certificate for a pedicure) to a party-hosting friend.
- Do something unexpected for your roommate, like washing his or her car.
- Write a letter of appreciation to a former teacher who influenced your life.
- Place an unexpected phone call to your grandparents, parents, or a mentor and thank them for how they’ve impacted you.
- In a friend’s name, sponsor a well where clean water is scarce, or donate to his or her favorite charity.
- Volunteer to serve a meal at a homeless shelter, or provide a Thanksgiving grocery gift bag with all the traditional eats for a family in need. Consider making this a church community outreach effort by coordinating with your local Salvation Army or transition house.
- Arrange a bouquet of flowers, attach a note of thanks, and leave it on a friend’s doorstep to greet him or her after work.
- Inscribe a favorite or meaningful book for a mentor or helpful coworker.
- Host an appreciation party and invite all the significant people in your life to one special event. Write a note of appreciation to each friend, or honor each guest with public words of thanks.
- Create a book of thankfulness for your parents, pastor, or friend. Have different people write notes of personal thanks for how that person impacted their lives.
- Frame a collage of verses that remind you of the person you want to thank.
- Get to work early and leave a piece of candy, some fruit, or a flower at every desk with personal notes of appreciation.
- Send a hand-written thank-you note on your own hand-crafted card.
On the Big Day
Before you start feasting on sweet potato casserole, here are some unique ways to share your gratitude on Thanksgiving day and start new thankful traditions.
- Express your thanks through decorations. Make napkin rings or place cards, writing down each guest’s name and why you’re thankful for him or her.
- Create a family Thanksgiving album of your favorite pictures throughout the year. Reflecting on your memories from trips or time with friends is a great way to count the blessings of life. Have everyone write something they’re thankful for alongside the pics. Bring out the album each Thanksgiving and continue the tradition.
- As a way of saying thanks by paying it forward, organize your own food drive by asking guests coming to Thanksgiving dinner to bring along a canned food item to donate to a local food pantry.
- Put everyone’s name into a bowl, and draw names before dinner. Afterwards, share why you’re thankful for the person whose name you drew and what quality in him or her you admire most.
- Show thanks for the chef and hosts by taking charge of clean-up duty.
- In Joshua 4:2-7, Joshua created a monument of thankfulness for his children to see for ages to come. In the same symbolic way, pass out smooth stones and a sharpie to everyone and have them write down a word, symbol, or phrase on the stone (along with their initials) to signify what they are most thankful for. Place the stones in a basket to bring out each year, adding more to the collection.
- Through prayer, thank God for His many attributes—Creator, Healer, Sustainer, Provider, Comforter, Savior, Holy One.
Carole Lewis, author of A Thankful Heart, says, “When we show thankfulness to those we meet each day at the cleaners, grocery store, or at our job, we are extending blessings into their lives. God tells us in Mark 12:30 that the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. He says that the second greatest commandment is that we love our neighbor as our self. We show love to God by loving others.”
This simple act of showing love to others by saying “thank you,” no matter how you choose to say those two important words, is a contagious act that will change your heart in the process.
Making the Thanks Fit the Favor
Wonder what the etiquette experts have to say about how to say thanks for specific favors? RealSimple.com has surveyed the experts and gracious gift-givers regarding 20 common and confusing situations that mandate thank-yous. From good deeds such as watching your pet while you’re on vacation to family friends hosting you for a night at their home, the site offers creative suggestions that will strike the right note of showing your appreciation.
At a Loss for Words?
Sometimes it’s hard to get past the first two words in a thank-you card and to put your gratefulness into a meaningful expression. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, my-thank-you-site.com has ready-to-use verses, quotes, and poems to help.