12 Best Ideas to Show Gratitude at Thanksgiving FTRD

12 Best Ideas to Show Gratitude at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday where we celebrate what we have and give thanks with those we love, and here are 12 of the Best Ideas to Show Gratitude at Thanksgiving. While it’s a busy time, it can also be a wonderful time of laughter and love. Sometimes it is also difficult. Not every family member may be our favorite and there can be sadness, grief, anger, resentment, or pain on this day we wish was as wonderful as the commercials make it seem. For some, this is a time of great loneliness because they have no one. All the hype and hope are lost on them.

If you are a Christian, you can feel all the good and the negative of this time. However, also as a Christian, we each need to take this time to reflect on what you have and be a positive reflection of Jesus. It might be hard to sort through and find one thing to be thankful for, but, it’s there if you want to find it. I know what it is to force yourself to find the good in a day where you really would prefer to hide.

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The Habit of Thanksgiving and Gratitude

The first Thanksgiving after my husband died was lonely, weird, and hard. Instead of everyone coming to my house, I went with one of my sons and his family to a friend’s home. I made myself go and I forced myself to smile, laugh, and enjoy the company of family and good friends. Was I in pain? Oh, yes – deep pain. When I went home and all was silent and lonely again, I cried and cried.

However, as you know from reading my blogs, I made a habit of giving thanks in the midst of the deepest, worst moments. I knew I had to focus on what I had instead of what was gone. While I didn’t always want to, I knew that gratitude is the best possible medicine there is. It heals, restores, and lifts. It is life in the midst of death.

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Whether you are looking forward to the day or dreading it – 12 best ideas to show gratitude on thanksgiving will help you. Gratitude is an action and an attitude. It is a matter of the heart and needs to be expressed or shown to others and God, so let’s flood our life with it.

One  – Don’t Complain

For just one day, lay complaining aside. Maybe you don’t even like turkey. Have more dressing and remember that tomorrow you can eat whatever you want. Complaining is easy to do and hard to hear. People get tired of hearing constant complaints from someone else. The old saying – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all – holds especially true. Just don’t do it. If the dressing is horrible, compliment the pie maker. Just don’t complain and mumble and try to make everyone else as miserable as you. Complainers are never happy unless they are complaining! Complaining holds absolutely no gratitude at all. Gratitude looks for the good and highlights it. Complaining does the exact opposite. If the turkey is dry and terrible, everyone knows and no one needs to have that fact pointed it out. Just express your gratitude to be together on this day.

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves.Philippians 2:14 TPT

Show hospitality to one another without complaint.” 1 Peter 4:9 The Voice

Two – Give a Compliment

Wherever you have Thanksgiving, take time to compliment the host and the guests. It can be as simple as a thank you for bringing the pie. Maybe the pie is one you dislike, remember that it doesn’t matter. What matters was that they brought it and they probably love it. Compliment them on their thoughtfulness. If the house is a mess but there is a beautiful candle arrangement on the dinner table, compliment them on that. If you are a guest, compliment the host by telling them how much you appreciate their hospitality.

There is always something positive you can find to say. Compliments matter to others just as they matter to you. You don’t have to lie and say that the turkey was moist and delicious if it was dry and had no taste. You can still compliment the turkey-baker on something other than the turkey.

12 Best Ideas to Show Gratitude at Thanksgiving Includes Compliments

A compliment is “a polite expression of praise or admiration.” That’s all. It’s not a speech or a commentary. It is just a short and sweet expression of praise or admiration. The terrible turkey-baker might be a kind and generous person. Compliment them on how kind it is of them to have prepared this dinner.

If the dinner is at your house, you can compliment people by expressing how glad you are they came! Or, if you aren’t glad that someone came, you can simply compliment them anyway because – this isn’t about you! It’s about them and making sure that you are expressing the thoughts of Jesus toward that person. Since Jesus loves them unconditionally, you can set aside your feelings and use this moment as an opportunity to love unconditionally as well. It’s a win-win for both of you.

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 The Voice

And so the good man (who is filled with goodness) speaks good words, while the evil man (who is filled with evil) speaks evil words.” Matthew 12:35 The Voice

Three – Smile

I’ve had Thanksgivings where I was smiling at the beginning of the day but not the end. I was tired and there had been some rather tense ‘family’ moments. However, the best thing I could do was to just smile and keep moving. Yes, sometimes the smile is fake in the sense that I would rather have said something I would probably have regretted. But, the smile is real in the fact that it expressed how I wanted to feel and it helped me to remain silent. So, it wasn’t fake, it was a way to keep peace with myself, God and others.

A correctly timed smile can ease tension and help you to maintain your own inner peace.

A warm, smiling face reveals a joy-filled heart, but heartache crushes the spirit and darkens the appearance.” Proverbs 13:15 The Voice

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. She conducts her conversations with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is ever her concern.” Proverbs 31:25-26 The Voice

Four – Be truly Thankful

Being thankful is meant to be a lifestyle, not an annual chore. So, it’s important that whatever gratitude and thankfulness you express springs from an honestly thankful and grateful heart. I won’t go into all the benefits of living a grateful life, but honest gratitude and thanksgiving will heal your body, soul, mind, and spirit.

Use the days between today and Thanksgiving to meditate on and write down what you are thankful for. Then, when the time comes to express it, it will be natural. There is so much to be thankful for and a grateful heart is a beautiful thing.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love and his kindness go on forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 TLB

And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 TPT

Five – Share Something Good That Happened This Year

No matter what your life has been like this year, there is one good thing somewhere that happened. Maybe it’s just that your lawn didn’t die when all the flowers did! That was one good thing. If there were a lot of bad things, find at least 3 good things and focus on them whenever your mind begins to churn up the bad.

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful giftsa] that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.” Ephesians 4:29 TPT

Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21 TPT

Six – Help Each Other

Help each other. If someone is carrying food in from their car, help them. When the kids are running through the kitchen, gather them up with a smile and help escort them to another area and give them something to do. When someone seems to be sad, strike up a conversation. Talk about the weather or the turkey or the kids!

You can wash dishes or help in any way necessary. Helping someone is an expression of kindness which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

We will show mercy to the poor and not miss an opportunity to do acts of kindness for others, for these are the true sacrifices that delight God’s heart.” Hebrews 13:16 TPT

Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.” Philippians 2:4 TPT

Seven – Find a Moment to Bow Your Heart in Thanksgiving to God

If your family does not have any traditions of saying what they are thankful for, then start your own tradition even if it is just with yourself. Take a moment to check your heart and express your thanksgiving to God for your life and the lives of those around you.

Do it in the car or just sitting at the table and eating. It can be a silent communication spirit-to-Spirit. Whenever you focus on the good, your attitude and day will be better. Then, if you can, find a way to weave it into a conversation. You can say how thankful you are for *****. Whatever it may be, this is the perfect day to express your thanksgiving out loud.

 “For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.” Matthew 6:21 TPT

Lord, I will worship you with extended hands as my whole heart explodes with praise! I will tell everyone everywhere about your wonderful works and how your marvelous miracles exceed expectations!” Psalm 9:1 TPT

Eight – Turn Off your Phone and Television and Give Your Attention to Those Around You.

If the party is at your house, you can exercise some control over the television and electronics. Turn off the wifi if you can. If not, at least keep the television off and encourage others to put their phones away so that you can engage with one another.

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This holiday is not just about eating, it’s about connecting in the common need to recognize the blessings we have been given. Doing this as a group brings a beautiful emphasis to the positive aspects of our lives. So, if you can, eliminate the other distractions for a little while and create a moment of gratitude.

There weren’t any Scriptures on turning off your cell phone! However, the idea of giving your attention to others has to do with putting them first and laying aside the cares of this world to help others. How can we be of help to them or encourage them if we don’t even talk to them?

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles.” Galatians 6:2 TPT

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity.” Romans 15:2 TPT

Nine – Be Patient

Gatherings like this can try your patience. Where I live, it’s usually cold outside so all the kids are inside and their energy often explodes. Lots of things can try our patience. However, for today, try to remember that patience is another fruit of the Holy Spirit and impatience is just going to make things worse instead of better.

When my kids were little, there was a song we sang over and over. I don’t remember who wrote it but here are the words to the chorus:

Be patient, be patient
Don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient, you only start to worry.
Remember, remember that God is patient too.
Just think of all the times when others had to wait on you.

You can find the little song here. The lesson of this children’s song about Herbert the Snail applies to adults also. Whenever we start getting impatient, we need to remember God’s patience toward us and how many times others have been patient with us.

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generousa] love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience.” Ephesians 4:2 TPT

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others.Colossians 3:12 TPT

Ten – Give Something to Someone Else – Write a Short Note or Give Them an Inexpensive Gift

Giving a little gift to someone shows them that you thought about them even when you weren’t with them. This signifies a level of love and care for them. It’s a small thing with a very large impact. Thank You cards are available even in Drug Stores. The inside of the card is usually blank and it’s easy to write something as simple as – “Thank you for being you and being my friend.” Showing that you care does not require a ten-page letter or a gold watch. I know in my own life, the simplest of things can have tremendous meaning.

When I was going through cancer treatment, a friend bought a small, clay angel. Small enough to hold in my hand. She gave it to me and it had great meaning because I knew she didn’t have to do anything. But, she thought about me and bought a small, inexpensive, but very meaningful gift. It really is the thought that counts. I keep the angel with me.

Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.” Luke 6:38 TPT

You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion, for when we take your gifts to those in need, it causes many to give thanks to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11 TPT

Eleven – Speak Positive and Encouraging Words – or Don’t Speak

It is so wonderful to hear someone speak who has good things to say and a positive attitude. I’m not talking about exaggerated or blown-up words. Just a genuinely positive attitude. Even hard truths can be softened and spoken in a way that brings life rather than destruction. Two people can say the same words and yet convey completely opposite meanings.

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The Bible tells us to encourage and build one another up. We aren’t to be harsh, hurtful, or selfish in our speech. So, on this Thanksgiving day, try to pay attention to what you say and how you say it. Uplift, encourage, build up, strengthen, and bring life with your words.

Because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 TPT

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful giftsa] that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.” Ephesians 4:29 TPT

Twelve – Be Humble – For Real

What is humility? It is defined as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.” The Scripture below from Philippians sums up Jesus’ attitude and implores us to follow His example. People may not know when someone is truly being humble, but they will know when humility is being faked. True humility grows from experience.

Have you ever talked to someone who has no children about the subject of raising children? I have, and their views are generally partially right with a great lack of realism combined with pride in the revolutionary ideas. Until you have children, you have no idea what it’s like to deal with a screaming 3-year-old who is tired and angry! It’s easy to hypothesize. When it’s you with your own child, everything changes including your own prior ideas about raising a child. It also humbles you because you are busy eating words you previously preached to someone.

Experience teaches us where we are wrong and, if we allow it, also brings a true humility. Humility is not self-condemnation. It is a realistic view. We are God’s children, perfect in His eyes. We are also flawed human beings who make mistakes. Those two statements are both true and bring balance. We are important to God but we are to regard ourselves as servants of all just as Jesus did. We are not above anyone.

Here is a description of what humility is and is not:

“You don’t need to defend yourself when you understand what the Bible says about humility, for you know who you are in Christ. You can be a peacemaker without needing to fight for your rights. You can walk humbly in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in your own strength.

Godly humility is being comfortable with who you are in the Lord and therefore putting others first. The picture of humility in the Bible is one of a strong person who loves others, not someone who is a wimp.” Doug Britton

Humility, meekness, and the fear of the Lord are all connected. As we trust God and realize who we are, we are not so concerned about what others think of us. We can be humble but strong and even assertive. The goal is true humility which trusts God and does not have to defend itself. Be humble enough this Thanksgiving to relax and let others be themselves while you do the same.

Jesus’ Example

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.” He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion. Philippians 2:3-8 TPT

No. He has told you, mortals, what is good in His sight. What else does the Eternal ask of you. But to live justly and to love kindness and to walk with your True God in all humility?” Micah 6:8 The Voice

12 Best Ideas to Show Gratitude at Thanksgiving

These 12 best ideas will help you and everyone else to show gratitude at Thanksgiving. I pray that as you practice gratitude in all things, you find greater freedom in your relationships with God and people. If we stop complaining, give compliments, smile, practice being thankful, help others, give thanks, focus on those around us, be patient, give, speak encouraging words, and live in humility we will all be reflecting the character and heart of God.

I have attached Scripture Cards about Thanksgiving, Joy, and Gratitude for you to download and print – read and use them to help you focus. Just click on the image below.

I pray that your Thanksgiving is filled with love and laughter and the knowledge of the sustaining grace of God in every circumstance of your life.

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**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our
Scripture Citations.

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