Thanksgiving is the one time during the year where we are prompted to think about others even more. Maybe we can help those who struggle with finding ways to express gratitude. We all have so many things to be grateful for. Maybe it’s simply waking up in the morning. Do we let God know how grateful we are for the day he has made? Maybe it’s our job situation, or extra income, or a new relationship. Whatever it is, we should be grateful for what the call God has on our lives, the world he has lovingly made, and the people he puts into our lives to draw us closer to him. Here are some ideas or different ways we can show gratitude during Thanksgiving.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
– William Arthur Ward

25 Ideas on How To Show Gratitude During Thanksgiving

How To Show Gratitude Towards Family Members And Loved Ones

Showing gratitude and thankfulness to those who love us can be a more of a challenge than it seems. These are the people we interact with on a normal basis. While we may think we show gratitude towards our spouse, parents, children, and friends, if we truly take some time and stop to reflect on how we have shown our thankfulness towards them, we might be shocked to notice we don’t do it as nearly as much as we would like to think we do. Let’s take a look at ways we can show them gratitude.



Who do we admire and appreciate? Do we admire them for a particular character trait, a skill or talent? We should give that person a compliment. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture. A quick “thank you” given at the right time might make a big difference.

“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” – Proverbs 15:23 



Build another person up and encourage them to try something new. Perhaps they are wanting to pursue a new career, hobby, or sport. Maybe they’re simply depressed. Build them up and help speak life into their situation.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11


Quality Time

Dedicate time to spend with others. Invite them to something they have always wanted to do. Maybe there is a new coffee shop in town we know they’d like, a movie to go see, or a special event, concert, or play. Make sure we set aside time that is all about others in which we can give our full attention without any distractions.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25



Bless someone with a gift. Maybe a new study Bible, gift card, or something of value that we own. We can even bless them with an entire Thanksgiving meal, whether at our house or delivering it to their home. No matter the monetary value of the gift, they will appreciate the gesture and the fact you thought about them.

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” – Luke 6:38


Prayer & Blessing

Dedicate some time and pray for others. Spend time with God as ask Him to show us how He views other people. Write a personalized letter to someone describing how God views him/her. Include some favorite Bible verses or perhaps a verse specifically for them.

 “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” – Ephesians 6:18


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How To Show Gratitude Towards Those Who Challenge Us

Showing gratitude to people who may dislike us, or those we just don’t get along with is tough. Jesus commands us to love those who we don’t get along within the book of Matthew. So how can we show gratitude towards those who challenge us?



Display patience to those who rub us the wrong way or those we don’t get along with. Patience allows us to cool down and gain God’s perspective of the person we are interacting with and how He wants us to love on them. Consider shocking those around us with how patient we are with them.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” – Ephesians 4:2


Remain Humble

We all have had people in our lives who try to just bring us down and tell us how we are doing everything wrong or how nothing we do is right. This can cause us to want to become defense against their accusations, yet if we remain humble and resist the urge to fight back, tell them they’re wrong, and remain humble while thanking them in a very genuine way for introducing a new way of thinking things, we will shock them with our attitudes and ultimately display Christ.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3



Are we serving someone who challenges us? Perhaps we work for a non-believer who does not have the same moral compass, or maybe our parents have been bad examples of God’s love. No matter the situation, we should consider showing them honor, regardless of how they treat us. Think of all the great stories in the Bible of those who served terrible people, yet they showed honor to those leaders and allowed God to do what he wanted through those individuals. Just think of how impacted they would be.

“Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” – Romans 13:7


Prayer & Blessing

Similar to the point above, Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies. The dictionary describes an enemy as “a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something”. While we may not have enemies out there, we do have those who are opposed or hostile towards us. Dedicate some time and ask God to give us His heart for them and pray for them. It may be hard, or awkward at first, but as we start to pray for them, we will feel our heart soften towards them and we will begin to feel gratitude towards them, just as Jesus is grateful for them.

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” – Matthew 5:44


How To Show Gratitude Towards Co-Workers

For most of us, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our families on a weekly basis. Our coworkers become our ‘family’ during the week and we get to build relationships with them in a similar fashion. So it makes sense to pay a little attention to them, especially during this time of the year. What are some ways we can show gratitude to our coworkers?


Write A Thank You Note To Someone

Words of affirmation are a great way to brighten up someone’s day. Think about someone that goes out of their way to brighten up other peoples days and write an anonymous thank you note to them. Let us stop and get our focus off of ourselves for a second and look around to our coworkers and their needs.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Leave A Sticky Note Of Encouragement Somewhere For Someone To Find 

A variation of the previous section, write a note of encouragement on a sticky note and leave it somewhere in the office or workplace for someone to find. Everyone can use a word of encouragement no matter where it comes from. Think of a way that we could encourage a random coworker each day this season.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” – Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)


Compliment Someone On A Talent, Skill, Or Strength That You Admire In Them

God has equipped each and every one of us with talents, skills, and strengths that he seeks to use for his greater purpose. God wants us to recognize these qualities in each other and build them up so when the time comes to use these qualities, we are ready.

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.” – 1 Corinthians 12:18-20


How To Show Gratitude Towards Strangers

God wants his family to continue to grow. How can we expect it grow if we are reaching out and speaking to the same people? At some point, we should be creating new friendships and relationships with the people that God puts in our lives. Here are some ways to show gratitude to strangers and hopefully this will spark a new friendship.


Make A Lunch And Give It To Someone In Need

It may sound simple, but there are a lot of people out there who cannot afford a meal. While we are making our lunch for the day, take some time to make one for a complete stranger that we may run into during the day… maybe during our lunch break. It may even open up the door to a friendship.

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” – Matthew 25:35


Give Away Some Of Your Things That You Don’t Need/Use

Let’s be real, most of us have things that we can give away. There are articles of clothing in our closets that we haven’t touched in years, things in our garage that are still in boxes or have been packed away for years. How awesome would it be to bless someone’s life with these things that we no longer have a need for?

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19


Pay For The Person Behind You In The Grocery Store, Coffee Shop, Etc

Try it sometime and see how it feels. We may have thought about this before or may have been fortunate enough to have this happen to us, but the feeling we get when we try to encourage a complete stranger is like none other.

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”” – 2 Corinthians 9:7


Give An Anonymous Donation

Find a cause called to support. God puts needs on our hearts for a reason.

“When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.” – Matthew 6:2


Spend Some Uninterrupted Time With Someone

Showing gratitude towards doesn’t need to be big. The little things can make an impact. Spend some good quality time with someone without a cell phone in our hands. Show someone else are interested in them by paying attention and being attentive.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25


Leave A Large Tip

Bless someone else’s life by showing gratitude for what they do. Waiters and waitresses are constantly serving others and are great examples of people who put the needs of others before their own. The next time we’re out at a restaurant for dinner, leave a larger than normal tip for your server.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” – Matthew 20:28


How To Show Gratitude Towards God

Really, if it wasn’t for God, we wouldn’t have much to be grateful for. If that is truly the case for you, why is it so easy to forget to show gratitude towards Him? Like most of us, we get overwhelmed by our schedules, especially during the Thanksgiving season, it seems to be amplified and there is never enough time in a day to do what we set out to do. This is just a quick reminder to put the important things first. How do we show gratitude towards God during this season?


Remember Him In This Season

Fall marks the beginning of the busy season for most of us. School is back in session, Labor Day weekend, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s events, and parties are happening every 3-4 weeks. When the weather changes, we start asking a whole list of questions. Thanksgiving and who we will be inviting to our dinner or where we might go for dinner. What stores do we want to hit on Black Friday? Will we complete our Christmas list purchases? How much thought have we really put into thanking God for all that he has done for us this year? Don’t let the busyness of the season drown out the amazing things of God.

“Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.” – Deuteronomy 8:18


Recognize The Ways That He Is Working In Your Life

God equips us to do amazing things in this life. Most times we don’t realize it because it is subtle and not usually desirable at the time it is happening. Be attentive to the ways that God is working in our lives this season and allow ourselves to be in awe of the attention to detail that God has.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” – Philippians 2:13



A simple concept, but this is the most powerful resource we have when it comes to our faith. We should be praying more often than this one season. Prayer is our way to communicate to God the desires and concerns of our heart. Take a second to think about communication with other people and how beneficial it is to simply talk to people. What if we went for a whole year not speaking to anyone, how would we feel? God wants us to talk to him and involve him in everything.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” – Colossians 4:2


Repent For The Right Reasons

Repentance deals a lot with the condition of your heart. What are the motives behind confessing our sin and wanting to change? Are we doing it for people or because we truly understand how much sin hurts God? Sin separates us from God and he wants to help us tear down those walls. He desires to lead us away from sin and grow closer to him.

“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10


Show Obedience

How does it feel when our children listen to us and obey? It feels pretty good! In the same way, God asks us to be obedient to his word. The fall and winter season usually brings about the temptation to spend money. Thanksgiving dinner, Black Friday sales, Christmas, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve parties… all of these events cost money and it can be easy to give into the temptation. God’s word calls us to be obedient and not indulge in the temptation of spending during this season. That’s just one example of a way to show obedience to God this year.

“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.” – 1 Peter 1:14


Serve Others

This time of the year brings about many opportunities to serve and give to others. What are we doing this season to serve others?

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” – Mark 10:45


Choose Humility

For Thanksgiving, we want things to be perfect, or as close to as possible. It’s easy to push our own agendas because we have a goal in mind that we are trying to achieve. For some, we try to re-create Thanksgivings past. For others, we are trying to create family traditions and set the tone for years to come. The problem arises when we won’t budge on our ideas and plans. At this point, we have a choice, we can choose to be prideful or we can choose to humble ourselves and realize that God is in control regardless of how we want things to turn out.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” – James 4:10

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General Ideas On How To Show Gratitude

If you need a little nudge, here’s an idea to hopefully jumpstart the ways you can show gratitude this year.

Create A List Of The Things You Are Thankful For And Write Them Down

One simple thing to do is to jot down things you are grateful for throughout the year. You may surprise yourself with the results. Once you have your list, slowly work your way through it during this season and express how grateful you are in an appropriate manner.

Small Expressions Of Gratitude Go A Long Way

Smile at everyone you come across

A smile can go a long way. It may also be good for you personally if you are having a rough day. Smile for yourself and share your smile with others.

Cook a meal for someone

Find out someone’s favorite dish and make it for them. Invite them over or deliver it, whichever you prefer. Cooking a meal is a great way to express your gratitude in a creative and thoughtful way.

Clean the table after dinner

If you want to blow your family’s minds, clean the dinner table after Thanksgiving. Do the dishes, put the food away, prepare for the dessert course, and your family will be impressed.

Invite them to do something that you/they have always wanted to do

This one is interesting. It takes a little research, but the impact is immeasurable. If you have something that you’ve always wanted to do, go for it and invite someone to join you. Even better, find out what the other person has been wanting to do for a while and figure out how you can make it happen. It doesn’t always have to involve money, there are many things out there that could be done without spending a single penny.

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