Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year (although not the only time of the year!) to express your gratitude to your friends and family. Of course, a simple “thank you” can often be enough, but occasionally it’s nice to go just a little bit further with your appreciation. We found some special and creative ways to let your village of support know how much you care about them.

Grow a gratitude tree. Using a branch as the base either placed in a pot, on a shelf or hung, cut autumn-colored leaves from construction paper and have members of your family or friend group write reasons they are thankful. Hang from the branches and display throughout the season. Alternatively, you could present this as a gift with a special sentiment written to that person on each leaf.

Gratitude rocks! Literally and figuratively…illustrate your gratitude by painting rocks with thankful messages and images and leave them throughout your community, in mailboxes, under family members’ pillows, on front porches, in parks or wherever you want them to be found. You’ll be sure to make someone’s day when they find your gift of gratitude by surprise.

Be thankful at the table. During your holiday meal – or any meal – provide a pre-written ‘prompt’ and leave it on your fellow diners’ plates. Instruct each person to read theirs aloud and finish the sentence. Examples could include “I’m grateful for three things I see” or “I’m grateful for these two teachers” and others you think will spark meaningful conversations.

Encourage gratitude journaling. This is a special exercise you can introduce to your spouse and children. Present each one with a gratitude journal and propose a time each week or month where each of you sits and reflects on the gratitude you’ve felt and received over the past few days or weeks. Encourage them to write these moments down and record them for future reading.

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