Between the spooks of Halloween and the joys of Christmas, Thanksgiving doesn't always get its due. By the time people take jack 'o lanterns off their porches, many are ready to don ugly Christmas sweaters and decorate trees. Companies often center their employee celebrations and client gifts around Christmas, which means that, come December, every office is hit with a barrage of candy, gourmet popcorn, and other treats. While there's nothing wrong with putting on your Santa hat a little early, skipping over Thanksgiving is a lost opportunity to practice recognition through gratitude.

Because you (hopefully) thank your employees for their work on a regular basis, and, of course, you thank your clients for their business, gratitude may not seem like an important value to dwell on. There is a difference, though, between an in-the-moment, quick "thank you," and an expression of thankfulness that is thoughtful both in its form and its timing. When your team and the people you serve see that you put time and effort into your thank-you's, they become more assured that your care and loyalty are authentic. Here are a few simple ways to practice gratitude this Thanksgiving.

1.  Send out your client gifts around Thanksgiving.

The tradition of mailing annual client gifts out around Christmas makes sense given that presents are a big part of Christmas, but there is a good chance that yours won't be acknowledged for long, or will be lost entirely in the sea of goodies that flood into offices in December. This is especially true if the gift you choose is a basket of treats that could be the same basket other companies will send.

To ensure that your clients can enjoy your gift thoroughly, send it out in November, preferably before Thanksgiving. Do your best to choose a gift that represents the value that you offer your clients, and make sure to include a thoughtful thank-you note. As often as possible, I hand-write notes to clients, which adds an extra layer of thoughtfulness to a gift.

2.  Celebrate your team.

Thanksgiving is perhaps the most anticipated celebration of the year here at Greenleaf. Our team comes together for an over-the-top potluck, complete with a movie viewing, and we spend the better part of an afternoon enjoying each other's company. It's not a particularly expensive event because everyone pitches in, and it's an opportunity for me to express my gratitude for the work that my employees put in year-round. Since everyone provides a part of the meal, it's also an opportunity for my team to thank each other for their support and camaraderie.

Whether you choose a potluck, a catered meal, or a company social outing, use Thanksgiving to bring your team together. Offer your thanks for their hard work and dedication, and encourage team members to thank each other.

3.  Give back.

If you're at a loss for a unique gift to give your clients or a meaningful way to bring your team together, consider making donations to a charity in your clients' names. Offer employees the opportunity to volunteer together or to run an office canned food drive. Creating avenues for your clients and team to help people boosts a culture of compassion in your company and demonstrates that the welfare of others is a priority in your world.

While Christmas is still a great time to send gifts and celebrate, Thanksgiving presents a unique opportunity show gratitude for your team and those they serve. If you put time and thought into the ways you thank people, you'll see their morale and loyalty grow.

Published on: Nov 2, 2017