“Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy.”
— Jefferson Bethke
Do you ever wonder why we start the fall season with Thankfulness? Yes, Thanksgiving is in November, but the gloomy weather can make some people feel a little down and depressed. The best way to fight that feeling is looking outside of yourself. Thinking about what you are thankful for and even outwardly expressing gratitude is the quickest path to feeling joy, even when joy feels a little out of reach. When the leaves are falling and the weather is turning a bit bleak, this is the perfect time to start thinking about all the things we are grateful for in our lives. When we are thinking and caring about others and focusing on gratitude, things may not seem as hopeless.
Here are some ways you can express gratitude this month:
Encouragement and Compliments
Do you have someone you appreciate in your life? Is there something in particular that they excel at? Encouraging them and complimenting them is an excellent way to speak life into their situation. Complimenting or encouraging someone doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. A quick “thank you” or “you’re wonderful” at the right time can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Being generous does not necessarily entail monetary gifts. You can be generous with your time by dedicating time to spend with others. Setting aside time that is all about another person and giving our full attention to them without any distractions is extremely generous. We can also be generous by blessing others with a gift. We can purchase a gift for another person or give something of value to another that we own. Being generous is all about giving to another person and showing appreciation to those around you.
Write a Thank You Note
Words of affirmation are a great way to cheer someone up and make their day brighter. You can write an anonymous note to someone who goes out of their way to brighten up other people’s day. Or you can encourage someone else by writing them a letter and sending it in the mail, telling them you are grateful for them.
Volunteer Your Time
Serving others is a great time to show gratitude. When we consciously show our appreciation for all that we have through the deeds of serving others, then gratitude is the result! It can also be a great way to focus on something other than us and a way to feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We don’t often realize, that as we are serving others, and when we are volunteering our time to a larger cause, although we may be giving to an organization or helping others, we are also receiving a gift of joy to ourselves.
Sometimes it’s hard to start practicing gratitude when we are in a season of hopelessness and big gestures can feel hard to accomplish. It you need small ways to start practicing gratitude this season, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create a list of the things you are thankful for; write them down. You can start with one a day!
- Share your smile with others! A smile can go a long way, and it is contagious.
- Cook a meal for someone, even if it is for your own family.
- Pray. This is a simple concept but a powerful resource.
Gratitude expression is uniquely important to psychological wellbeing and linked to enhanced positive emotions, resilience, better coping skills, and an improved ability to manage stress, and an increase in happiness according to a study on Gratitude and Wellbeing. People who express gratitude have a more positive overall sense of wellbeing. What an amazing opportunity we have to express our gratitude this season; our gratitude not only helps others, but it also can improve our wellbeing!
Grazing Tables for Thanksgiving
Have you heard of a grazing table? It is not your typical appetizer plate or cheese board. A grazing table will not replace your main dish or sides for your Thanksgiving dinner, but it is so nice to have a fabulous way to present your guests with something to graze on while you are in the kitchen preparing your Thanksgiving meal. With a grazing table, everything is beautifully laid out on one table – either flat or on plates and platters of varying heights. You can label everything, so your guests know what they are nibbling on, or let them be more adventurous as they graze.
With a table as beautifully decorated and laid out as the one above (my first grazing table!), it sets a relaxed, festive environment where your guests can take their time and help themselves to what they want, in what order they wish to nibble. It is a wonderfully eye-catching way to start your meal! You can have something like this catered, but I prefer to set it up myself according to what the main dish will be. Plus, it is easy enough for anyone to be able to pull off themselves.
Check out this video of my first grazing table here:
Some Secrets to a Fabulous Grazing Table
Having fresh produce on your grazing table will easily highlight what is in season. It will also add in bright colors and will do this naturally!
Add Some Greenery/Natural Elements
Using natural herbs is a great way to add greenery to decorate your table and will also enhance the aroma in the room. I love the smell of fresh rosemary! You can add some edible flowers and lavender as well to add some flowers and more colors to complement the table.
Bowls, Baskets, Trays, Oh My!
If you don’t have a lot cutting boards or cheese boards, try using bowls, baskets, and trays. These will add an element of depth to your table and let some elements stand out. You don’t have to have different layers to your table and can leave everything on one level, but having layers will give your table that whole new level of excellence!
Combine Savory & Sweet
Meat and cheese are definitely a staple of grazing tables, but don’t be afraid to combine sweet and savory. There is nothing wrong with putting a sweet marmalade or honey to go along with your meat, crackers, and cheese. Dark chocolate and yogurt covered pretzels can share space with meat and cheese as well!
Have you done a grazing table at one of your dinners or gatherings before? I would love to see them! Drop a picture in the comments below or go over to my Facebook page and post a picture on my page!
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” – Psalm 107:1
Have a wonderfully blessed and Happy Thanksgiving season!