The Etiquette of Gratitude
Teaching our children, and reminding ourselves, how to show gratitude.
As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, it's a time to show our gratitude for all that we have and for the wonderful people in our lives. Below are some typical questions people have on the best ways to show gratitude now and throughout the year.
For Thanksgiving, what are some ways we can show our gratitude?
- Include others in our celebrations. Reach out to those who might not have anyone to spend the holidays with and extend an invitation to join your family. This is also a time to mend fences with family or friends, so reach out to them and see if you can repair your relationship over a Thanksgiving meal together.
- Help Out. If you're invited to someone’s house, offer to bring food and then offer to help out when you're there. Also, remind your kids to put their electronics away, have nice table manners (maybe even give the kids a refresher), and to greet everyone and make conversation with them.
- Volunteer! Find what your family is most interested in doing and then get all family members to commit to at least one day of service to help others in need. Telling kids that they are lucky most times goes in one ear and then out the other. When kids actually come face-to-face with others who are not as fortunate as they are, the message is heard loud and clear.
During the December holidays, how should we show gratitude to friends and family?
- Be a polite house guest. If staying with family for the holidays, try to make things as easy for them as possible. Bring or buy extra food and drinks, help around the house, and make sure your kids do things like make their bed.
- Tip service people to show your gratitude. When considering who to tip like the babysitter, house cleaner, bus driver, kids’ teachers, etc., you can consider who needs the tip the most to prioritize. You may also give homemade items, but cash or gift cards are always best. Use this tipping guide for ideas on how much to gift.
- Write your thanks. Get everyone in the family to write thank you cards to those who gave you a gift if they were not there to see you open it. For those who were, it's still nice to send a thank you note, but you can get away with sending a picture or video of you using the item, or give them a call or send an email.
Do you have any tips for helping us teach our children gratitude?
- Disconnect from the digital world and be mentally present. Gratitude is being thankful for the things we have but also for the people in your life. The best way kids can show this is to not be hooked up to electronics when with other people. So, when over at grandma’s or out to dinner with the family, do not allow them to be on their phone and encourage them to talk to the people they are with.