In four weeks, most of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and November has become a month that urges us to reflect on what we are grateful for. It’s a known fact that expressing gratitude is a critical part of living our best lives. Whether you give thanks for the air you breathe, or the caramel macchiato you are able to afford on the way to work, giving thanks is good for the soul.
And, although we should be grateful every month of the year, November does a pretty good job of highlighting what it means to be grateful. We each have our own way of expressing gratitude. Some of us do it through conversations with God, while others journal or volunteer. And, of course, some us do all of these things (I know I do).
Here are few ideas of fun and creative ways you can encourage your family to express gratitude all month long. I hope that this attitude of gratitude extends well past the month of November. I hope you wake up every single day of the year understanding that being grateful will sustain you in a way that nothing else can.
Start a Gratitude Jar – Find a big glass container, decorate it and put it in a prominent place in your home – maybe the kitchen – and place pens and pieces of colored paper next to it. Everyday, everyone in your family has to write down just one thing they are grateful for that day – anything – and place the paper in the jar. At the end of the month the family can share what’s in the jar and even place these pieces of paper in a scrapbook (don’t forget to add a few pictures, too).
Take a drink from the gratitude cup – Get a fun-looking cup that rotates between family members throughout the week. Whoever ends up with the gratitude cup has to share an experience from the day that they are grateful for. Not into cups? A gratitude plate is pretty fun, too.
Have the whole family select items to giveaway – Every weekend during the month of November, pull your family together for a couple of hours and begin gathering items that you all love, but truly don’t need. Pack them up and at the end of the month, give them to an organization that can truly use the donations.
Organize a “thank you card” night – Pull together cards, pens and a few decorative items and bring the family together to write out thank you cards. This is a chance for your children to write a note to a family member who sent them a gift, or a friend’s mom who took them to dinner. Sure, expressing gratitude verbally is important, but in this age of technology, the art of writing out a thank you notes is lost. Write a few thank you notes and place them in the mail. It will make someone’s day.
Pay it forward – Are there people who have truly been good to your family this year? Bring your family together, create a care package and send it to another family who you think needs a ray of sunshine in their lives. Nothing says you’re grateful like paying kindness forward. It truly spreads joy.
BMWK Family, What is your family doing this month to express gratitude?