Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. It’s a total reset for my heart towards life and the everyday struggles we all share. It’s a purposeful focus on what’s right and good and true. It’s more than turkey and dressing, although I’m extremely thankful for my mom’s amazing dressing. It’s more than football and pie.
Thanksgiving is a comma in the run-on sentence of life that gives us permission to gush with gratefulness.
And so if you are stressed about the sweet potatoes or Black Friday shopping or travel-impacting weather, stop for a minute, take a deep breath, and choose to give thanks. It changes everything.
And in case you, like me, are slightly rusty in the gratitude department, here are some ideas about how to do just that.
1. Write a (hand written) note .
2. Send flowers.
3. Shovel snow.
4. Tag an old friend in a happy throw back photo.
5. Send a thank you note to a favorite teacher.
6. Walk the halls of a nursing home, and cheerfully greet the residents you see.
7. Make pies for the local fire station.
8. Take a walk with a neighbor.
9. Call your mom. Or someone who’d been like a mom to you at one point in your life.
10. Skype with your brother. Or someone you wish was your brother.
11. Make a list of your blessings.
12. Color pictures with a young child.
13. Make a cup of tea for a friend.
14. Look into the eyes of your child when he speaks to you.
15. Give your attention, complete and total, to your spouse when she talks about her day.
16. Write a letter to the editor, not to complain but to compliment.
17. Send a note to the mayor and tell her what she’s doing well.
18. Think about home.
19. Fly the flag in appreciation of freedom.
20. Loan your oven and a helping hand to an overworked hostess.
21. Vacuum your teen’s car without commenting on its contents.
22. Be the first one to hop up to take the dog out.
23. Knit a scarf for a loved one.
25. Shop for a family who won’t have much Christmas this year.
26. Leave the TV off.
28. Pay for a stranger’s order in the drive-through behind you.
29. Display photos of your ancestors, and talk to your kids about them.
30. Gaze at a globe and contemplate the bigness of it all.
32. Sort your closet and give (good) stuff away.
33. Collect all your extra hotel shampoos and take them to a shelter.
35. Work out with a keen awareness of the amazing human body.
36. Polish your spouse’s shoes or boots.
41. Go outside at sunrise.
42. Go outside at sunset.
43. Tip the newspaper carrier extra for carrying the heavy Thanksgiving paper.
44. Tip everyone extra.
45. Cut out some leaves, get a stick and make a thankful tree.
46. Hold hands.
48. Kiss your husband longer than you usually do.
50. Share a meal.
Show, don’t tell. Act, don’t think. Give, don’t take.
Be the most grateful person you know this Thanksgiving. It will make all the difference.