Thanksgiving is more than just turkey, stuffing, football and shopping. While it's all too easy to get caught up in the kickoff of the holiday season, it's important to remember and reflect upon what it truly means to be thankful, and in what ways you can your gratitude for the blessings in your life.
While your typical daily routines and responsibilities can grow to feel a but mundane, it's important to continue to nourish your relationship — and showing gratitude to your partner throughout the holiday season and beyond is truly important.
Even the experts say so.
"The holiday season brings out a lot of emotions in couples, and naturally so. Increased expectations and pressure only adds to the stressful time, but it doesn't have to," says Natalia Murtaugh, Relationship Expert & Coach based in New York City.
Instead, if in the midst of the hustle and bustle you can find time each day to focus and share your gratitude for your loved one — it just might be the happiest holiday season (and beyond) of all.
Here are five expert approved ways you can show your partner gratitude on Thanksgiving.
1. Be present.
"The healthiest (and big emphasis on the biggest) form of gratitude and way you can show your partner your appreciation and love for them, in my opinion, is by authentically being present for them," says Murtagh. While this might look different within every relationship, start by ensuring that you eliminate any and all distractions during the precious moments you get to share together within the same physical space. "Love means being present. Lots of people will be demanding your time and attention, be sure to water your most precious gift of all," she says.
"Gratitude looks like you're maintaining communication if you're not seeing each other for long periods so that the attachment is being nourished," explains Murtagh. Examples she loves include sending cute texts if it looks like you're running late, and then show up with the cider spices for the signature cocktail recipe, or something else that's fun for the season.
Active listening is perhaps the biggest gift you can give your partner, and something both of you will be grateful for time and time again. "Happy coupes can turn to each other and trust that their partner is emotionally present," says Murtagh, and this begins with listening. Sometimes couples make the mistake of thinking their physical presence is enough, but it doesn't mean much if ears and heart aren't present at the same time. Put the cell phones down, turn off the television and truly listen to what your partner is saying or showing.
4. The Little Things
Ignore large and flashy displays of love and affection this time of year and focus on the little things instead — for they are always the most meaningful. Bring home a hot cup of coffee, switch up your chores one day and take on a few of theirs, pick up their dry cleaning or wake up early with the dog even if it's your turn to sleep in. Sometimes these little bits of effort can go the longest way in making someone feel cared for. When they are reciprocated by both individuals, it's a beautiful thing.
5. Be Emotionally Open
Emotions and stress can run high this time of year. Work seems to only get busier as your social calendar fills, and budgets are often stretched to their limits. So, it's important to support your partner during this time, "by allowing them to be vulnerable and themselves," Murtagh says. "It's important for emotions to pass through us. No need to put on a happy face. Happy couples can turn to each other and trust that their partner is emotionally present," she explains. This might look like end-of-the-day chats, or looking out for little signs your partner is stressed or can use a break. This doesn't mean you have to press your partner, but just showing interest and letting them know you are there can go a very long way.