The fall is the favorite time of year for my wife (Alida) and I. The weather is nice, you can get pumpkin-flavored anything, and it’s the month that has Thanksgiving in it. Oh, and I can’t forget about football!
On top of all of that, Alid and I got married in the fall: October 12, 2002.
In other words, we really love the fall! And one of our fall traditions is our annual Thanksgiving Date.
Here’s what we do: Every year around Thanksgiving Alida and I have a special date. We try to plan the date as close to Thanksgiving day itself as our schedules will allow. Sometimes this means that we have this date the day before Thanksgiving and at other times we’ll do this several days early.
Either way, the purpose of this date is simple — we just want to let one another know how thankful we are for each other and our marriage. So we take turns sharing something we are thankful for back and forth.
We do this twenty-five times. It’s usually pretty fast and we can do it while eating a meal together. But now and again one of the things we are thankful for needs a little discussion or is really funny! Either way, all we want to do during this time is connect with one another and show real appreciation for each other.
This has got me thinking…how appreciative of Alida am I every single day? Do I say “thank you” enough? Do I intentionally go out of my way to show Alida how grateful I am for all that she does for me? Am I consistent in expressing to Alida that simply by being her she has totally changed my life for the better?
Or do I try to stick all that gratitude into our annual Thanksgiving Date?
I know I’m not perfect. But I do often make an effort to be grateful. But could I do more? Absolutely!
So, here’s the question: Do you let the people in your life who are important (e.g., spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc.) know how much they mean to you? When’s the last time you looked one of those people in the eye and said “Thank you for being you.”
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Say “thank you” a lot, so much so that it feels like too much. It would be way, way better to err on this side of things than the other. Become known and the thank-you guy or woman!
- Plan a meeting/date/hangout during which your sole purpose is to show appreciation. So have a meal with someone and prepare a few things to tell them you are thankful for. Getting reciprocation is great but even if you don’t get anything back, it’s still worth it to invest in the life of someone else.
- Send some of the most important people in your life a handwritten, thank-you note through the mail. No one gets real snail mail anymore! Our mailboxes are just stuffed with junk mail, ads, and printed invites. Your hand-written note will really bless the socks off whoever you send it too!
- Thank the people most important to you in public ways too. A private thank you is paramount. Nothing can replace that! But there’s something special about showing appreciation for someone important to you in public (e.g., while speaking in front of a group, on Facebook or Twitter, or even just in conversation with someone else). I distinctly remember many of the times when I was thanked publicly — each one made my day!
Can you think of some other ways to be thankful? Let me know in the comments below.