7 Ways to THANK Outside The Box



Has another Thanksgiving rolled around to find you thankful of the same things as last year?  (Let me guess:  Friends, Family, God, and Good Health)

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  Those are are some darn fine things to be thankful for.

But this year, let’s think outside the box a little.  The following list is designed to help us stretch our thankfulness a bit, in some ways we might not always think of.  Ready to THANK outside the box?

7 Ways to THANK outside the box

  1.  THANK a soldier.


Amillionthanks.org has been responsible for sending more than 7 million letters of thanks to our soldiers.  Check out the site for information about how to put your letter in a soldier’s hands.


2.  THANK a teacher.


Remember how great your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Janezik was?  Let her know!  http://www.thank-a-teacher.org/ is an easy way to let a teacher know you appreciate them.  Put in your name, pick their school, write your thanks, and this site will get the thank-you to them.


THANK local.


In the mad rush of post Thanksgiving shopping, the little guys can get overlooked.  Instead, be intentional about buying at least some of your gifts from local merchants.  It’s good for the economy and can be a needed boost for smaller stores.  In 2010 American Express created Small_Business_Saturday as a yearly reminder.


THANK a wrestling partner


No, not actual wrestling (although, why not!).  Think of the person or people whom you’ve wrestled with intellectually or spiritually, and thank them for how you’ve grown from it.  That friend from college you always find yourself debating religion with?  Thank them for the wrestle.  That co-worker who always keeps you on your toes?  Thank them for the wrestle.   They just might thank you back.


THANK God for Tuesdays


For some reason, TGIT has never caught on as much as TGIF.  Of course, it’s easy to thank God for Fridays — it’s the end of the week, time to let your hair down.  But why not try to thank God for all the other days, even the Tuesdays.   Your deliberate gratitude for a day in the middle of the week might just alter your own appreciation of it.


THANK a checkout clerk



It’s gonna be busy in all the stores, so as you go through the check-out line, why not take a cold drink out of the cooler at the end of the aisle, pay for it with your groceries, and then tell your checkout clerk that you got it for them as a thank you for their hard work.


THANK a writer



In the past year, did you read something that made an impact on your life?  A devotion book, a novel, maybe a passage of scripture?  I’ll bet the author would love to hear from you.  If they’re alive, you could write to them care of the publisher, or many authors have their own websites.  And if, as in the case of the scriptures, the author is long since gone, you could say a prayer of thanksgiving, or even write out a few sentences to share on your Facebook page.


There are obviously lots more than 7 ways to THANK outside the box this year.  Whichever new ways you choose to show your thanks, you’ll find yourself blessed as well.  Gratitude has a habit of filling lots of hearts, including the giver’s.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and THANK YOU for reading!



How much can you digest at Thanksgiving Dinner?


Here’s how it often works:

Extended families will drive or fly for hours to converge in one location.

They will spend half of a day or more, creating the most mouthwatering feast imaginable.

And then they’ll sit down at the table and give each other indigestion.

Not from the food, mind you.

From the conversation.

Not everyone finds themselves in this situation on Turkey Day.  My wife and I, for example, have opted for a low-key day where our only chance of eating turkey is if it comes on a pizza.

But most of us have been there before:

Sitting across from uncle Larry, who has strong views on everything, and thinks now is the best time to discuss “that mess in Ferguson.”

Or next to younger sister Teri, who majored in Taking Offense:  “How DARE you say that about Katy Perry!”

Or down the table from great aunt Carol, who habitually sighs and laments “the way things used to be.”

(And don’t forget your Nephew Spike who likes to make fart noises with his hands at especially delicate moments.)

Whatever your specific family configuration, you may find yourself struggling to keep things pleasant and low-key this Thanksgiving, with less than preferable results.

What can you do?

Well, you could be the one to bring up the controversial subjects first, in an attempt to frame the conversation.

Or you could quietly cry in your napkin and lament another ruined family moment.

Or you could rule with an iron fist — banning any and all CNN or FOX-worthy topics.  And fart noises.


You could count your blessings.

Even in the tumult.  Even when the turkey hasn’t been cooked enough, and Uncle Larry has had one too many.

Count your blessings and voice them, joyfully.  Even if your blessings may be different from Great Aunt Carol’s.

In fact, count Carol as a blessing, too.  Count the whole clan.

Maybe they’ll start counting too.

Rarely do these family dinners go off without a hitch, but there’s still time to make Christ the guest of honor.

(Saying Grace is always a good place to start).

Now I know that not every family dinner ends in a food fight,

but for the ones that do, here’s a reminder to help you keep the Thanks in Thanksgiving.

If you think you’re gonna lose your cool:

Count To 10.

And then just keep counting.

Happy Thanksgiving,