Guest Contributor: Liz Sarantopoulos, MSW, LICSW
Every year on Thanksgiving, we gather with our friends and family to share a delicious meal together. We spend countless hours searching Pinterest for the perfect apple cider sangria, or how to brine and cook a turkey. With each saved pin, we’re making a silent vow to host a celebration that’s bigger and better than years past. We put so much time and energy into making it a “perfect day”, that we forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving. We forget that it’s a time to show Gratitude towards others.
With that in mind, I want to challenge all of you reading this. As you’re planning this year’s gathering, I challenge you to be thoughtful in the ways you show gratitude to your loved ones. Small acts of kindness go a long way.
So instead of planning an elaborate meal (you can purchase one at Whole Foods), plan small ways to show your appreciation.
Need help coming up with ideas? Try one of these:
Do Something Thoughtful
Is your sister-in-law hosting dinner? Offer to clean up the dishes when everyone is done eating. Encourage her to sit and relax with a glass of wine (or a big piece of chocolate pie) while you tackle the dirty dishes in the kitchen.
Write a Thank-You Note
Does your mother watch your children during the week? Mail her a note that shares all of the ways in which you love and appreciate her. Make sure to let her know how much your children cherish their special time with Grandma.
Try adding a little note to each plate setting, telling your guest how their love and friendship has impacted your family’s year.
Be Patient and Kind
Does your 5-year-old insist on helping with the holiday prep? Take the time to teach her about the family recipes. Be patient and supportive of the big mess she makes while adding the flour for Aunt Mary’s pie crust.
Smile and Be Friendly
Is your brother bringing his new girlfriend for Thanksgiving dinner? New SOs or guests are going to be naturally timid and shy at a family gathering. Greet them with a big, warm smile and let them know they are welcomed in your home.
I hope this inspires you to incorporate a few small acts of kindness and gratitude into your holiday celebrations. Think of it as starting a new tradition for your family. Share your acts of appreciation here! We’d love to see what other ideas folks come up with to say Thank You.
About Liz Sarantopoulos
Liz Sarantopoulos is a social worker living and working outside of Boston, MA. Liz helps strengthen emotional wellness in new mom’s by helping them achieve balance in their busy and stressful everyday lives. Liz is a wife, mother, and dog lover. She enjoys going on long walks with her beagle (Charlie), taking spinning & yoga classes, and baking cupcakes. Liz has an adventurous spirit and loves discovering new places both near and far.