Thanksgiving can be a touchy topic. In the United States, Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal that usually includes turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest-themed festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 and always takes place in the US on the fourth Thursday in November.

Because of the controversy between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, there is a great deal of frustration on whether or not it is ethically and morally okay to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The concept of thanks comes up 102 times in the Old Testament, and the word thanksgiving is used 72 times. In the Bible, the meaning of Thanksgiving is basically the same as the Webster dictionary. Thanksgiving, according to the Bible, is the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God, or an expression of thanks, especially to God.

At its core, wishing someone Happy Thanksgiving is purely wishing them well and acknowledging gratitude. While Thanksgiving is celebrated on a specific date, the idea of Thanksgiving is a theme that can be adopted year-round. In case you’re uncomfortable wishing others Happy Thanksgiving in the spring and summer, here are reasons and ways you can extend Thanksgiving wishes to others in your life.

Share a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ quote with others.

You can include a Thanksgiving-themed quote as your signature on your emails, you can write a quote on a post-it and leave it as a reminder for a friend (or yourself), or you can verbally share the quote in conversation. Here are a few of our favorite quotes:

Henry David Thoreau said, “I am grateful for what I am and have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual.”

Henry Van Dyke shared, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”

The Dalai Lama said, “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”

And lastly, John F. Kennedy shared, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Perform an act of kindness for a loved one.

All families have their imperfections, and the reality is those flaws humanize everyone. You can say thanks on Thanksgiving Day by cooking a meal (or dish), cleaning up after dinner, being vulnerable, and sharing why you appreciate your family (or a specific family member) or participate in a seasonal tradition with loved ones. An act of kindness is a genuine way you can extend thanksgiving wishes.

Giving out handwritten notes.

The simple gesture of sharing gratitude with loved ones is an act of thankfulness that will be treasured for many years. Dig deep and share your feelings. Start your note with: I’m thankful for you because…, I am honored to be your friend because…, I am grateful for you because…, or I appreciated that time when…

Let’s face it, even if your loved ones are far away, the cost of a stamp is well worth it!

Share ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ wishes with a religious touch.

Incorporating your faith into your Thanksgiving celebration is a relatively normal practice for Christians. Offer to say grace before your shared meal and bless the food you are about to eat together. There are a number of already written prayers you can borrow.

If you’re pressed for time, here is a solid prayer written by Harry Jewell:

“Our Father in Heaven, we give thanks for the pleasure of gathering together for this occasion. We give thanks for this food prepared by loving hands. We give thanks for life, the freedom to enjoy it all, and all other blessings. As we partake of this food, we pray for health and strength to carry on and try to live as You would have us. This we ask in the name of Christ, Our Heavenly Father.”

Is there a business side to sharing Thanksgiving? How do you say Happy Thanksgiving to employees and coworkers?

You spend 40 hours per week with your coworkers and peers, and in many cases, the people at work essentially become an extended family. It is a nice gesture to let them know how much you appreciate working with them, and ultimately them as human beings.

Sharing messages of Thanksgiving can be a verbal or nonverbal act: “I’m so thankful I have you on my team. I am blessed to work with you,” “I feel so much gratitude to be able to work with you every day. Thank you for all your hard work and support,” “I am so grateful to work under such a kind and caring boss,” or “Here’s to all the great work we’ve achieved this year, so far. I am filled with gratitude to have such great, creative, hardworking people on my team.”

Throughout the year, it is easy to get caught up in the busyness that engulfs our lives; however, that makes Thanksgiving even more precious and important. Take the time to voice your thankfulness with the people that matter the most.

Thanksgiving is more than a sentimental wish; it is an attitude of gratitude. When wishing thanks, focus on the good things in your life and the blessings that God has given you. By focusing on the good that already exists, in the world and in your life, you can have a better outlook on life, and the world can live as happier people.

Despite the existence of negative connotations with the traditional historical celebration of Thanksgiving, at its core, there is goodness. Happy Thanksgiving wishes reflect gratitude, appreciation, hope, peace, and love.

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