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5 Ways to Show You’re Grateful This Thanksgiving

Happiness research reveals there are several strategies for well, being happy. But on the eve of Thanksgiving, we wanted to find out how being grateful can make us happier.

Those we spoke with were especially grateful for family and friends, of course, but how will you show your gratitude this season?

Perform random acts of kindness

Whether it’s helping shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk or preparing a Thanksgiving meal for your grandparents—there are so many little ways to pass the good onto others this holiday season.

Be sure to invite your friends to join you and feel grateful for being in a position to help others. They are sure to bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

Send a handwritten card to an old friend or relative. Most likely, not everyone in your family or friend circle will be sitting around the same Thanksgiving table this year.

So whether you have an aging relative who can’t fly anymore or a mentor that has helped shape your life, tell them—but skip that email. A handwritten note will not only make this person feel extra special but also it will be a welcome surprise at the mailbox.

Offer a personalized gift

Depending on who this person is, you could loan your work friend one of your favorite books with a note inside telling them what you love most about the story or the book’s author.

If you are a painter or have a local pottery shop, gifting something handmade by you has the dual benefit of feeling grateful for your talents and gifts as well as gifting them to someone special in your life.

Give your time

Unless you’re retired, giving the gift of your time and energy is a huge commitment. Especially if you have children. Find creative ways to volunteer will make those you serve feel especially thankful for your help. If you have teens, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless with a local community group. If you have young children, offer to take your friend’s kids for an overnight or afternoon playdate.

You can also help an organization like Meals on Wheels who need volunteers to deliver turkey dinners to home-bound seniors.

Create a gratitude jar

This simple endeavor offers a big return. Ask each person at your Thanksgiving table to write down one thing they’re thankful for this year on a slip of paper, and then take turns sharing. Afterward, fill a decorated mason jar with everyone’s responses to see the wealth of thankfulness at your holiday table.

Incorporate your family gratitude jar into your centerpiece—and as a bonus, consider saving the jar (and responses!) for the following year to see how your family’s gratitude grows and changes year-by-year.

November marks the beginning of what for many is a busy and sometimes stressful holiday season. Remember to practice gratitude daily for even the simple things like a cozy moment around the fireplace or a kind gesture from a stranger.

Thanksgiving season can positively lift the spirits, and it’s built right into the holiday — expressing gratitude.

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