Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Gift of Gratitude

My family came to our house for Thanksgiving this year and I wanted to make the day special. Certainly there’d be plenty of food, fun and football…but I wanted more. I wanted each person to take home a gift of gratitude. Here’s what I did.

As my unsuspecting family members arrived, they saw a table with small jars each tied with glittering ribbon and a tag with phrases like “Kudos for Kyle,” “Everyone Loves Evan” and “Thankful for Stephanie.” There was one jar for everyone in attendance, twelve in all. One by one, we each wrote a short personal note of gratitude to each individual person at the dinner and put the note in their jar. I’d love to be able to tell you that everyone embraced my plan and poured their heart out onto the little slips of colored paper I’d provided. Not the case.

I had to explain the concept several times as I endured a few deep sighs and weird looks. My family is used to me though.  As they stared at me with blank expressions, I again explained the notes were to express love, gratitude or appreciation and hopefully in a way that had never been expressed before. The consensus seemed to be I was making them work for their dinner. I was.

After a few more groans, the writing began. I heard some giggles and laughter soon followed. “Nobody has to do homework before dinner when they come to my house” my brother chuckled as he stuffed a note into my jar. Some notes were signed, some not. After a while, each jar was filled with notes of gratitude, appreciation and love.

Yes, we had turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. The vegetarians had a lovely quinoa salad and enjoyed the Brussel sprouts. We all had fun being together but the real magic of the day came when each person collected their gratitude jar and read the messages inside.

Want to make a lasting memory for your friends and family this holiday? Use your imagination and create your own gifts of gratitude.