Family and friends join together for Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for everything you have and celebrate the simple things: family, friends, health, and happiness. Research shows that reflecting regularly on all for which you are thankful will boost your emotional well-being. You can propel your thankfulness forward, too, by showing those around you that you care about them—and it takes just a little effort to do so! Here are a few gestures of generosity and gratitude that will spread joy and gratitude this holiday season:

Spend time with loved ones.

Truly, your company is the most meaningful gift you can give to those you love. Plan time with friends and family to go for a walk, have coffee or go to a movie, or do something else. Just as you make time for school and work, make time to see the people who are special to you. Don’t save gatherings with friends for special occasions only!

Offer your help.

Surely every person in your life could use an extra hand with something, whether that’s getting their home ready to host company or tackling that fix-it list. Let a friend or family member know that you’d like to lend your help if they need it.

Plan a “Friendsgiving” dinner.

Celebrate the season by hosting friends for a meal and good conversation. Feel free to mimic a traditional Thanksgiving menu where you cook the turkey and gravy and invite guests to bring the side dishes, or go with something laidback like Chinese food or pizza. The point is bringing people together for a fun night, not fussing over a decadent feast.


There are so many organizations that need extra help during this busy time of year. Call your local Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, or hospice organizations to ask about meal delivery during the holidays and if you can help. Check with children’s hospitals to ask if they might accept cards for patients or another gesture. Or, explore local food pantries or soup kitchens for opportunities to help out.

Share your gratitude on social media.

If you’re a regular Facebooker or Instagrammer, spread the love these next two months praising the people you cherish most in your life. Try sharing short stories about someone who has impacted your life, inspired you, or made your day recently.

Pick up the phone.

Call your mom and/or dad, your grandparents, or that longtime friend you haven’t talked to in a while just to say hi. Even if your time is limited, a quick call to let someone know you’re thinking of them will make them—and you—feel great.

Write handwritten notes.

It’s a rarity these days to receive a handwritten card or note. Surprise your loved ones with heartfelt notes or letters that tell them what they mean to you. Include a few fond memories of your friendship or things you enjoyed or did together in the past year, or keep it simple and just let them know how appreciative you are for them.

Cultivate gratitude and practice generosity this holiday season. You’ll notice your stress level decrease and your happiness increase, and you’ll find yourself feeling excited to conclude the year on a positive and joyful note. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Related Posts