26 Ways to Give Thanks —The Gratitude Marathon

November is coming to a close, and within a few days Thanksgiving will have passed, millions of shopaholics will invade the malls, and Christmas music will dominate the airwaves. Despite its cozy and cheerful exterior, the holiday season can become very stressful amongst the hectic traveling, chaotic shopping events, and inescapable, mind-numbing, repetitiveness of Christmas melodies.

Before we jump into the more aggravating aspects of the holidays in the next few weeks, let’s take a step back and focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving: showing gratitude.

Gratitude Marathon

A popular tradition during November is to find different ways to show your thanks in at least one way each day of the month. Unfortunately, since it’s already the 25th day of November, it’s literally impossible to complete a 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge. The good news is that we have still five more days in the month. If you’ve been feeling like an ungrateful grump, it’s time to unleash all of your thanks in a five-day gratitude marathon. The key here is to keep it simple so you don’t get worn out.

To help you find ways to express your gratitude on these final days of November, here are 26 simple ways to give thanks! Why 26? Because this is a Gratitude Marathon, there are 26 miles in a marathon, and . . . No more questions! Let’s get started!

Gratitude Marathon – 26 Deeds

1. Show Someone How Much You Care Find a special someone. Give them a hug and a sincere compliment.

2. Hold the Door One of the simplest signs of goodwill there is. All you have to do is hold the door for someone next time you have the chance. Just don’t make it awkward by holding the door long before the person is nearby.

3. Fill the Coffee Pot with the Good Stuff Next time you report to work in the next few days, head on over to the break room and make a fresh pot of your favorite coffee. Leave the generic brands at home and brew up something special (Who doesn’t love Starbucks?).

4. Write Someone a Poem Show a special someone your inner Shakespeare and express your gratitude through poetry. Not the creative type?

Go write a haiku. It’s the simplest poem. Yes, you can do it.

5. Buy Your Friends a Drink If you’re lucky enough to have the day off on Thanksgiving, gather up some friends and have a few drinks tonight. First round’s on you.

6. Give Your Co-Workers a Compliment – Show your gratitude towards your co-workers for being part of your team by giving them a compliment. Compliments go a long way and will surely brighten up their day.

7. Give Your Boss a Compliment – Be thankful that you have a job! Give your boss a compliment and maybe even a token of appreciation.

8. Contact a Long-Distance Family Member – Be thankful for your family members and show the ones who are far away that you care. Send out a handwritten letter, make a phone call, or chat over Skype. Add in a personal touch that you can’t replicate through a short text message.

9. Leave a Donation at the Checkout – If you don’t already give that extra dollar for the varying charities you find when checking out your groceries, why not drop a small donation when picking up your Thanksgiving meal preparations. Be thankful you have the expenses to devour a steroid-infused mega-turkey this Thursday and pass on a couple of dollars to those in need.

10. Buy Someone a Turkey – What is a Thanksgiving meal without turkey? Find someone in need and deliver them the centerpiece to every Thanksgiving feast.

11. Help with the Thanksgiving Dishes – Instead of slipping off to the Lay-Z-Boy and falling into a turkey-induced slumber, why not spend a few minutes to help clean up the Thanksgiving feast aftermath. Lend a hand and help wash off the dishes. Don’t worry, the Lay-Z-Boy will be there when you’re done. Just remember to call dibs.

12. Drop a Care Package for the Troops – Send a care package or a donation for those serving overseas. Go to Operation Gratitude and check out the different ways you can show your thanks. Operation Gratitude accepts care packages, donations, even recycled cell phones!

13. Thank a Veteran – Find someone who has served, or is stilling serving in the military, and give them a sign of thanks. Buying them a meal, shaking their hand, or just saying “thank you” will show them that their service is greatly appreciated.

14. Shovel some Snow – Already experiencing some snowfall? Bundle up, grab a shovel, and show a friend or family your appreciation for them by clearing their driveway of snowy obstructions. Don’t have any snow to shovel? Give someone an IOU and promise to help them out in the near future.

15. Rake up Leaves – If you don’t have a blanket of snow to deal with, you might know someone with a sheet of leaves. Clean up a special someone’s sidewalk, porch, or lawn by taking the time to rake their leaves.

16. Scrape Morning Frost – It’s miserable when you step out into the freezing weather, you’re running late for work, and then you find that your car windows are covered in frost. Save someone this pain and clear their windows for them. I guarantee it will make their day.

17. Treat a Friend to Lunch – Pick out a favorite restaurant and buy your friend a lunch. Who doesn’t like a free meal?

18. Leave a Large Tip – Give something extra to your server next time you eat out. Save yourself a huge appetizer and use that cash to beef up your tip.

19. Be a Tidy Guest – Crashing at someone else’s this Thanksgiving? Be a kind guest and make your bed, tidy up your room, and thank your hosts for their hospitality.

20. Organize a Movie Night – Gather up some friends and your favorite films and host a movie marathon. Don’t do this too soon after the Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t want to fall asleep and miss the best parts do you?

21. Perform Volunteer Work – Spend a couple hours dedicating your time for a cause. This may be difficult to do last minute, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Food banks are a great way to volunteer and help those in need enjoy a much deserved meal.

22. Give Someone a Smile – Give a smile to the next person you see. As they say, a smile is contagious, and it’s way better than catching a cold this flu season.

23. Make Someone a Big Breakfast – Get up a little bit earlier than usual and fix up a delicious breakfast for somebody. Brew up some coffee, strike up a nice conversation, and enjoy the meal with no rush.

24. Clean out the Closet – Go through you wardrobe and pick out the clothes you haven’t worn in a while. Drop them off at a clothing drive for someone who has better use for them than you do.

25. Ask Someone About Their Day – Give general interest in someone’s problem and really listen. Then, offer a way to help solve their problem!

26. Sleep in – Pick a day this weekend to sleep in and recharge. Spend the entire day to relax and show some appreciation for yourself. You must be exhausted after all these acts of gratitude.


This blog post was brought to you by the Tapolci Foundation, a non-profit organization in Southwestern Pennsylvania. We hope this was beneficial in helping you choose a way to give back this holiday season.

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