What could be a better time than Thanksgiving to express our gratitude for family, friends, freedoms, health, and other blessings by gathering for a festive meal and performing acts of charity?
Whether we incorporate longtime traditions or create a new generation of customs, a series of events—taking advice from too many cooks in the kitchen, exchanging memories, deciding to have a slice of both kinds of pie for dessert, and welcoming someone to the table who would otherwise have nowhere to go—can reflect the joy and appreciation we feel far better than words could convey.
Whether the holidays create the best memories or remind us of the best times we’ve had during the year, they often inspire us to express love and gratitude towards those who mean the most to us.
We could certainly argue that words can be superfluous. Children, banished to the kids’ table, know for a fact that their parents love them unconditionally. Dear friends, already planning their next gathering, know that they, unlike family, are bonded by choice. For those reasons, when it comes to offering tributes and thanks to loved ones, many of us assume that such sentiments do not require a spoken language; instead of saying what we feel, we believe that being in the moment is the important factor.
That might be so, but despite the old adage, “actions speak louder than words,” many of us live to regret what we never say.
With the passing of time (and loved ones), I have grown more compelled to speak up rather than wait for the perfect phrases or ideal opportunities to materialize. Regardless of my convictions and my usual capacity to find the right words, however, I still struggle to make my tributes meaningful. I absolutely relate to the challenges others face when expressing how they feel. I certainly understand why many procrastinate until it’s too late.
If you’re grappling for the right words to say to someone deserving of your gratitude, consider the following five pointers that have always helped me write or say thank you:
· Communicate from the heart. Sincerity speaks volumes.
· Speak simply. Grandiose language is not only unnecessary, but the beauty of your sentiments can also get lost in extravagant phrases and over-the-top gestures.
· Relate praises to personal experiences. Beyond stating that someone is wonderful, specify examples of why the individual has added meaning to you your life.
· Write it down. Some are more comfortable putting their thoughts in writing, but whether you say or write them, typing your words first can help ensure that you convey what is important.
· Thoughtfully choose between a private versus public tribute. When deciding between a private talk and a public toast, consider the context in which the beneficiary of your sentiments would most want to receive your message.
Have you offered a tribute lately? If not, is one overdue?
My best to you,
Sallie W. Boyles, a.k.a. Write Lady