It’s that time of year when we take the opportunity to reflect on what has transpired since the last Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is truly the quintessential American holiday. The spirit of Thanksgiving is fundamentally family and friends. Let’s say “Thank You”.
Two Words – Priceless
I was reading an article the other day on how we have lost some of the niceties as our society evolves into a more mobile, constantly connected yet personally more distant paradigm. People have simply forgotten to say “Thank you”. So my personal challenge to you is to reverse this trend, starting immediately. Thank the person who held the elevator door for you. Thank the busboy who refilled your water glass. Thank your neighbor for not complaining about the state of your lawn. Thank your spouse, children, parents, friends for being in your life. You get the idea; say thank you at every opportunity that presents itself. It will soon be so ingrained in your everyday interactions that it will become second nature to you. And yes, you have my permission to use ty or thx in your tweets, IM’s, texts, etc.
“Thankfulness sets in motion a chain reaction that transforms all around us … including ourselves. For no one ever misunderstands the melody of a grateful heart. Its message is universal; its lyrics transcend all earthly barriers; its music touches the heavens.”
~Thank You Ink
Several business people that I know have switched their holiday greeting card sending to Thanksgiving. What a perfect opportunity to thank our clients, customers, business associates, and referrals partners!
I remember the first Thanksgiving card I received from one of my vendors. It was about 10 years ago and I remember opening it up and thinking, ‘how thoughtful … and how unusual’. Whenever the opportunity arose to use that vendor’s product, he remained top of mind with that gesture. The use of Thanksgiving cards is becoming more common, but it is still an excellent way to demonstrably show you care to your client base.
It can be so easy to get overly stressed during the holidays, especially when money is tight or someone in the family might be out of a job or seriously ill.
There is a new tradition that is taking hold across the country. Perhaps it was initially inspired by the Costanza family holiday of Festivus where an aluminum pole was held and each person shared their thoughts on how others have disappointed them over the past year. The Thanksgiving Tree, an anti-Festivus if you will, gives families the opportunity in the form of a physical manifestation to acknowledge why we are thankful that they are with us. The tree can take the form of a real tree branch, posterboard or construction paper, or some other material (Legos? Erector set?). If there are children in your family, set them to work creating the base of the tree form. Cut out leaves from construction paper in various fall colors and place them near the tree, along with some pens or markers. On a daily basis (or whatever schedule works for your family and friends), encourage each person to write who or what they are thankful for in their lives. Affix (thank you Martha Stewart) the leaves to the tree with tape, glue or string. It’s amazing how a fun and easy project like this can help everyone get in the spirit of Thanksgiving. We should make every day a Thanksgiving Day and remember, it is not only about the turkey.
Speaking of turkeys, I thought I would lighten this up with three fun facts about turkeys:
Ben Franklin thought that the turkey should have been our national bird instead of the eagle.
There is fossil evidence that turkeys have been around the Americas for 10 million years!
Some people think the turkey got its name from the Indian word for the bird–“furkee”. Other people think its name came from the sound that the bird makes–“turk, turk.”
Pay It Forward
The concept of paying it forward is not really new, although the phrase itself gained traction with the publication of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book and the release of the movie by the same name in 2000. Random Acts of Kindness or just plain being neighborly were drummed into all of us by socially conscious parents and grandparents. It is all about doing something for others – putting quarters in a parking meter when you are leaving your spot, paying for coffee for the next 5 people in line – without the expectation of getting something in return, even an acknowledgement of your action. Find a way to say thanks by paying it forward for someone else.
One tangible way to say thanks for all the gifts that we each have in our lives is to share our time helping others. Find a charity, a cause, a committee, an event that you feel is relevant and volunteer to help. While many perceive volunteerism to be selfless, particularly when it involves a charity or a cause, we each augment ourselves by the very act of giving of our time. The person who volunteers gains more than they give.
Thank You Notes and Cards
When did it become acceptable to not send a Thank You note or a card, acknowledging a gift, dinner, even a referral? I have been to countless weddings and showers; most of the brides and new mothers sent a thank you card. Some even customized the note to acknowledge the actual gift. But a troubling number never sent any card or note. I hate to get all Letitia Baldridge on us, but there is something to be said about taking the time to write a personal note. Like the Thanksgiving card, it is a way to stand out from the crowd with a modest investment of time.
In this time of thanks giving, remember to:
Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on others instead of yourself.
~Anonymous, Attribution not Found