It’s November again and we all know what that means.
Facebook is about to be overcome with everyone’s daily “I’m thankful for…” post.
We all feel the pressure to be thankful, especially at this time of year. But maybe the Facebook approach isn’t your thing — don’t worry it’s not mine either. Which is why I’ve compiled a list of ways in which you can express gratitude without blowing up the internet this holiday season by expressing gratitude for others, identifying God’s influence in your life, and performing humble service.
Genuinely Express Gratitude for Others
Giving and receiving sincere gratitude is truly rewarding. President Monson has taught that happiness is a grateful heart. Do we mean it when we wish for Happy Holidays? If so, why not start making that happiness a reality by experiencing a grateful heart? Try one of the follow suggestions below:
1) Post-It Note Challenge
Expressing gratitude can be as simple as scribbling a note on a Post-It. For those of you who crave the One-a-day challenges, I encourage the Post-It Challenge:
1. Carry a stack of Post-It Notes with you wherever you go. (Don’t forget the pen!)
2. Identify an event or an individual for which you feel thankful.
3. Leave a note for that individual with or without a signature. (I prefer the anonymous note, myself.)
If you want to feel the true spirit of the season, reach out to your fellowman with appreciation for the things that they do that go unnoticed.
Is the postal service too slow for you? I would tell you to pick up your phone then, but chances are it’s already in your hands. A 30-second conversation on the phone with someone who has blessed your life, is hardly an inconvenience. “Hey Grandma, thanks for always sending a card on my birthday.” She needs to hear it as much as you need to say it.
3) Hit the Pause Button
It’s easy to offer a half-hearted ‘thanks’ as an after thought or on the way out the door. But when was the last time you stopped, looked an individual in the face, and sincerely thanked him or her? Try it and see what happens. Take a moment after a class, lesson, or meeting to thank those in charge. Pause on your way out of the grocery store to thank your cashier.
4) How About a Throw-Back to Snail Mail?
When was the last time you sent a Thank You card? Do Thank You cards even exist anymore? The answer is yes. Utilize them. Stamps are cheap too. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at creating your own Thank You cards. Local stationary and craft stores can give assistance in this area. (Make sure to thank the store clerks!)
5) Send a Call Heavenward as Well
Never forget the Giver of all life and all blessings. Often times I have found when I ask for nothing and thank Him for everything, I feel closer to Heaven.
6) Ding Dong Ditch a Do-Gooder
This activity was one of my Mia Maids group’s favorite holiday festivities. Here’s how it’s done:
First, find someone always doing good for others.
Second, prepare them a holiday treat, or a card, or both.
Third, place said items on the front porch and ring the door bell.
Fourth, run away as quickly as possible, without being seen and without slipping on ice.
If nothing else you got a little exercise in during the holidays!
Identifying God in Your Life
Whether you report to others the items that inspire gratitude, use Instagram as your gratitude platform, write down daily blessings in a journal to express gratitude, or even list them on Facebook, do something to recognize the Lord in your life in a personal way.
7) Sing Praises to Your God
We are told in the scriptures that we should lift up our voices in thanksgiving. When we sing praises to our God we acknowledge Him and express an appreciation for all He does. Take a moment this year to sing a song of praise and thanksgiving. Turkey Dinner, Turkey Dinner, might even count.
8) Document the Evidence
Daily reminders of God’s hand in our lives help us to stay close to Him. When you see His hand by way of a tender mercy or much needed blessing, write it down. Many like the gratitude journal option. Writing a blessing on one’s mirror with an erasable whiteboard marker is easy to do and easy to replace each day when one retires for the night and will be easily seen upon waking.
9) Share in God’s Goodness
I know many individuals who keep gratitude journals which list all of the blessings that that individual sees in his life each day. I’ve tried it and I always seem to lose my list. I’ve transitioned to a verbal gratitude list. Each day I return home, I ask those whom I live with,
“How did you see God in your life today?”
We each respond in turn, relating to each other the events of our day. Through this we thank our God for blessings by acknowledging Who the giver of the blessings is.
10) Scrapbook Your Gratitude
I’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Try compiling a visual gratitude journal. It shows others what you treasure, while creating a solid documentation of thanks for which you can look back on.
11) Patriarchal Blessings
If you haven’t received your patriarchal blessing yet, learn what this special gift is, and what it will mean for you. If you have received your blessing, reread it this holiday season. The Lord has made it possible for you to have direct and individual guidance. Burying yourself in it’s counsel will help you see God’s love for you.
Serving others is an outward sign of both our devotion to God and a recognition that, because we have been given much, we too must give. Service is a form of gratitude because of this recognition. There is a multitude of ways to express gratitude through service—especially at this time of year.
12) Shine Your Light
Each of us has been blessed with individual talents with which we are to bless and change the world. Use your domestic goddess skills to prepare meals for others. Demonstrate your vocal or instrumental skills for church meetings as a way to bring the spirit for others. Offer your leadership and organizational skills to help run a fundraiser.
13) Sometimes 10% is All You Need
Never underestimate the power of Tithing and Fast Offerings. If you are not a full tithe payer, shoot for that goal. If you are, continue to bless others through your sacrifice.
14) Include Tiny Helpers
Want to serve but aren’t sure how to get the kids involved? Penny, stay-at-home mommy blogger can help. Check out her blog post on teaching kids to serve.
15) Give of Thyself
Give kindness, forgiveness, and love. The greatest service we can give to others is Christlike charity. Who are you withholding forgiveness from? Who in your ward, neighborhood, workplace, or school stands in need of a little kindness? Who in your life could benefit from an outpouring of love, by way of a listening ear, an apology, an invitation to dinner?
16) “If ye love me, feed my sheep.”
The Lord told his disciples. Feed them physically and spiritually, show gratitude for the gospel and the atonement by sharing in its gifts with others and with yourself. Invite a friend to church. Give away a pass-along card. Share the story of Christ’s life with those who only say Happy Holidays and never Merry Christmas.
Your holiday season will be merry and bright if you start now to enhance the love and gratitude you feel towards your Heavenly Father and your fellow men. By choosing one way to show gratitude, you will feel the happiness that comes with having God in your life.
If you’ve found other ways to express gratitude, let us know how in the comments.