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Perfect Gift for All: The Gift of Thanks
No research on the gift to gratitude ratio has been found, but in a 2011 article, the British DailyMail reported that “one in three believe people say thank you a lot less now than in previous generations.”
The findings from an interview of 2,000 people showed that words like cheers, cool or fab replace the actual “thank you” in conversations. The author also stated that “most thought the world could do with showing more gratitude.”
Thanks is a gift some never receive, although it is the perfect gift for all.
- It improves relationships;
- It creates a positive atmosphere;
- It is easy to reciprocate;
- It does not become another item on the shelf that needs dusting;
- The memory conjures up happy feelings for a long while.
Give thanks, sometimes, without attaching it any tangible, costly gift. Perhaps, a hug can accompany it. Present it in a phone conversation. Send it in an email. The gift of thanks, expressed from a sincere heart is always meaningful, and there are many lives that can be revitalized by it.
Following are a few situations when a word of thanks is appropriate, especially when there is nothing else to give. Thanks make the perfect gift, every time.
To the One Who Has Everything
You may have heard someone ask, “What gift do I give to the person who has everything?” If the person is a family member, say thanks to him or her for practicing such good management skills and providing an example of responsibility to the rest of the family. If the person is a non-family member, say thanks for the opportunity to know someone from whom you can learn important life skills. You’d be surprised how many of these people long for some personal attention from someone who sees not only what they have, but also who they are. A handwritten personal note or a word of thanks can make the day for someone who gets too many “things” and not enough personal appreciation.
To the Undeserving
Someone has annoyed you more times than you care to count. You have no more patience or goodwill toward that person. Don’t give ‘em hell; give ‘em thanks prior to the next annoyance. “Thank you for leaving my parking space for me.” “Thank you for being punctual tomorrow.” “Thanks for remembering to throw the burger wrapper in the kitchen bin.” Your positive word of thanks is more likely to have better results than scolding, threatening or ugly sarcasm. It is possible to sow one seed of thankfulness and reap a bucketful of kind consideration.
To the Celebrant
There’s the special occasion (for example wedding, graduation, anniversary) when you cannot afford to give the gift you would like to give. Perhaps you will be able to afford it later, but you prefer not to make a promise. Thank the celebrant for understanding that a late gift comes with as much love as when it’s early; or for being the kind of friend or relative who does not make you feel uncomfortable about your inability to give a gift. Among good family members and friends, your presence and participation plus gratitude for the relationship will be more meaningful than some gifts they receive.
To the Visitor
It is one of these days when you have not had the time to bake a new batch of pastries, and the only thing you’ve been drinking lately is water. If only the visitor had given you ample notice, so you could have had time to prepare, but no use wishing that you could change something that you can’t. Give the gift of thanks. “Thank God it’s you. On a day when I am unable to prepare refreshments, we can refresh each other with good conversation.” Express appreciation for something meaningful to the visitor. One gift of thanks that I will long remember was from an acquaintance who thanked me for laughing when he made a joke. He thought that the joke would have fallen flat if I had not broken the silence. His gift of thanks was unexpected, and it still makes me smile.
Does this article encourage you to say "Thank You" more often?
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To the Hard Worker
There are people you admire for their many contributions to the community. They work diligently to make life better for people who do not recognize what they do; let alone take time to express thanks. How you wish you could do something to repay their labor of love, but it is difficult to come up with the perfect idea. Some of the people who fall in this category are school teachers, postal workers, hospital personnel, soldiers and clergy. Whenever you meet them (you may recognize them by what they wear), make the effort to greet them and thank them for performing unselfishly at their post. Thank them on behalf of the many who never get the opportunity to say thanks. It takes so little from us, but it means so much to them.
To the Friend Who Likes to Give
Then there’s that person who always gives tangible gifts. It might embarrass you to receive more than you can give; but it is not advisable to try being an equal opportunity giver beyond what you can afford. As long as you do not take advantage of the one who likes to give, you can be comfortable giving back in expressions of gratitude. While a true giver will not want to hear profuse expressions of thanks, maintain a spirit of gratitude always. Let the giver know that while you appreciate the tangible gifts, you appreciate the person even more. Always give thanks for the person above what the person gives.
- Want to Be Happier? Practice Gratitude!
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- Thank You Notes to Your Boss
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© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers