It’s November, so you’re probably seeing thankfulness posts in your social media feed and Pinterest-worthy ways to teach gratitude to your children. While these are great ways to display thankfulness, these activities quickly can become another item to check off your holiday task list: 1. Order holiday cards. 2. Make stuffing for the turkey. 3. Show gratefulness--when it becomes a chore, acts of gratitude can be overwhelming.
Yet gratitude is good for you and the people to whom you show it, but it doesn’t have to take much time or planning to make an impact. Here are easy ways to show gratitude and being grateful in five minutes or less this holiday.
For Yourself or Someone You Know
- Start a gratitude journal (and help your kids start one). Write down blessings that happened that day or people you’re thankful for that day. Once you get going, this process becomes easier and easier, and it also helps you know whom to thank (useful for some of the other ideas, below). Writing in the journal shortly before bed also helps calm your mind as you prepare to rest.
- Write a thank-you note. I keep fun, blank notes on hand with the postage stamps to make the process easy, or you can send an email. Be specific about why you are thanking the person, focusing on how you will use the gift (if they gave one) or what the person means to you.
- Take a picture. If a friend or family gives you something, text them a photo of the gift in use, whether it’s your daughter wearing the outfit they gifted or the flower arrangement on your dining table.
- Shout-out on social media. Take a minute to tag someone in a post--shout to the rooftops the ways you are thankful for them. Don’t wait until their birthday to make your gratitude Facebook official.
- Send an anonymous small gift. Amazon makes it easier than ever to send a gift anywhere. In just a few minutes, you can find, purchase and send a small token to a friend. No need to put your name; mystery makes it even more fun.
- Really listen. Show gratitude with the gift of your own time, listening intently to what someone is saying and how their day is going.
- Share an inspirational book. Whether you lend it or buy it for them, show your friend they inspire you by sharing a book that inspires them.
- Do something outside of the regular routine. Pick up the kids early and take them to their favorite restaurant. Rent a movie on a weeknight. Bring your significant other lunch to work (or send it!).
- Be there for someone when they really need you. If you practice #6, this will be easier to accomplish. It might take longer than five minutes, but taking the time to understand what they need won’t. Make a meal, meet the appliance repair person, be there for them when the school bus arrives and they’re running late. Big or little, just be there.
For a Stranger/Acquaintance
- Leave a snack for a delivery person. I love this idea at the holidays because we know delivery folks are working overtime, big time. A simple piece of fruit, bottle of water or granola bar can show you remember their efforts.
- Let them “cut line” in front of you. This activity is great to do with your kids, who are often worried about everyone being “fair” and keeping their place in line. Bonus points if you’re in a check-out line and it’s really busy (although it might exceed our five-minute rule).
12 Buy a stranger’s coffee or dinner. Generosity doesn’t need a big price tag. Buy a Gingerbread Latte or an entire meal--whatever fits your budget and makes you and them feel appreciated.
- Hold open the door or elevator for someone, especially if it helps them make the train or lets your child push a button.
- Smile. It can improve their mood and yours.