How To Promote Thankfulness With Your Family All Year Round

While Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, watch the parade, and eat copious amounts of food, it is also a time to reflect on gratitude. However, we should count our blessings all year long, and there are cute and creative ways to promote thankfulness on this holiday and beyond.

According to studies, gratitude is linked to people of all ages being happier, more engaged, healthier, and more hopeful, as reported by Verywell Mind. When we stop to show appreciation, we are focusing on the good in our lives, and we are brightening someone else's day, as well.

The following activities and strategies can be done with children, friends, family members, coworkers, and significant others or even as solo projects. More importantly, they can assist in this shift of thinking, as, 365 days a year, we shine a light on goodness and show how thankful we truly are.

List out things for which you are thankful

A simple and common way to focus on thankfulness is to make a list. This can be short and sweet, including loved ones and shelter, or it can be super detailed, mentioning everything from chocolate and coffee to Rihanna and "The Real Housewives."

As pointed out by Doing Good Together, a nonprofit offering kindness tips and ideas, these lists can also include those who are often overlooked, such as cashiers, bus drivers, and waste disposal teams. While the pandemic, in particular, brought about hardships, it did cause people to stop and appreciate these workers even more than usual.

After everyone has listed out their items, go around and share your answers. Next, you can get creative by displaying the lists in a bowl or making them into a paper chain. That way, every time you see them out in your home, you will be reminded of the things for which you are grateful.

Donate your time, money, and belongings

Many people show gratitude by donating and doing charity work, which is especially popular during the holiday season. As stated by Verywell Family, groups, individuals, couples, and families can donate money to causes, create/hand out care packages, do service projects like local clean-ups, and/or can donate items such as gently used clothes or canned foods.

When Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, our minds are more focused on giving to others. However, these are activities that can and should be done all year long. When doing spring cleaning, donate toys and clothing items that are no longer used. When traveling in the summer, be sure to tip the staff members that help make your vacation a success. On your birthday, consider raising money for a favorite non-profit organization. These are just a few of the ways to help make a difference before, after, and during this time of the year.

Change how you think about thankfulness

According to the Raising Grateful Children project at UNC Chapel Hill, gratitude can be broken down into four parts: There are things we notice and for which we can be grateful. There is the way we think about why we have these things. There is how we feel about the things. And there is what we do to show our appreciation (via Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley).

Younger people, specifically, may only be aware of a couple of these parts of gratitude. But due to how busy life can be, there are adults who are probably not focusing on all parts either. 

When thinking about our blessings, we need to realize that gratitude is about receiving and giving. And, as mentioned, this is a thought process that needs to continue long after Thanksgiving, as we reflect on all we have and, in turn, share that goodness with others.