Believe me, I’m the first person to pull out my Thanksgiving recipes weeks prior and start pouring through the pile of fattening sweets and savories I can’t wait to prepare.  I get all warm and fuzzy at the thought of anything pumpkin or pine cone as soon as the fall season hits.  And as sure as I’m writing this, I’ll be excitedly gorging myself right along with the best of them at the Thanksgiving table.  However, this year something will be definitely different.

For the past several months, I have been lying in bed each morning before I get up and reciting a laundry list of things I am grateful for: my health, my children’s health, my husband’s health, my dog’s health, my family, our home, our neighborhood, our friends who are also like family to us, my work, my clients, etc.  Then I give thanks for all of my faculties, from my ability to hear and to think, to simply being able to walk and talk. Lately, there is not a day that goes by where I am not keenly aware of how fragile life is and I have woven that feeling into every interaction with family and friends since. Fear as well has not been an option. What’s the point? We only have this one life to live so why not give it our all!

And granted, I know it’s easier to feel this way when things are going well – which thankfully they are at the moment – and I hope I can carry this wonderful feeling with me when the $%^! hits the fan as we know it will at some point again.  But for now, here’s what I’ve been practicing and what I believe will make a difference for you and yours this Thanksgiving.  It really IS all about how you make others FEEL, not the food that’s the most important takeaway this holiday.

1. Look your best and you’re likely to feel your best.  Everyone has a ‘go-to’ outfit that makes them feel like a million bucks.  Put on that one.  Getting dressed has a direct correlation to how you feel, but more importantly, shows respect for the people around you.  So don’t let yourself fall pray to the elastic sweats and slippers. Instead, don clothing appropriate for the occasion ahead.
2. Shower hosts with a token of appreciation.  A gracious guest knows when you are lucky enough to be invited to a party, you never arrive empty-handed.  Even if you’re asked to contribute to the meal, add a little something extra for your host to enjoy separately.  This makes them feel special and shows how grateful you are just to be included in the celebration.
3. Spread kindness and enthusiasm this season.  Bring your best self to the party and make sure every touchpoint is a positive one.  Leave behind the list of complaints, wretched opinions, idle gossip, and other mindless stories about rare illnesses or horrible accidents.  Instead, sprinkle the conversation with light and happy topics from cultural happenings to seasonal events. Heck, you can even talk about the weather, just keep it upbeat and smile!
4. Stay present and listen with intention.  The best way to show we care and make others feel great is to just listen.  A wise person once said, we have two ears and only one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much as we speak. Ask a question, offer a compliment, and listen to the answers. Remember this and you’ll never want for conversation. Using the phrase, “Tell me more” is a great way to keep the conversation embers burning well into the evening.
5. Raise a glass to honor your host.  They’ve been cooking and cleaning, slicing and dicing, and slaving over a hot stove for days.  Be the brave one at the table.  Rise to the occasion and raise a glass to your host before the meal begins.  Your kind words of gratitude will cause a ripple effect around the room and make everyone feel happy just to be a part of the experience. Here are a few quotes and toasts for inspiration.
6. Make a lasting impression in writing.  A friend recently renamed her stationery store, The Giving Ink, which is the perfect name for how putting pen to paper makes someone feel. Nothing says thank you like a beautifully-crafted, handwritten letter.  At Thanksgiving, this is the only way to properly acknowledge your host leaving them with a warm and fuzzy feeling guaranteed to score you a repeat invitation the following year.

There is no shortage of ways to give thanks and make others feel amazing at holiday time.  Please share some of your secrets for how you make the people in your life feel most special.

With all good wishes and a very Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Lisa