During the craziness of the Holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in the planning, the deadlines, and the expectations of it all.
It’s as if we are at the starting line in October, and December 24th is the finish line. And as soon as the gun sounds, we are off- full speed ahead until Christmas! If we are not careful, the whole season can go by before we have had a chance to even stop and reflect on the “why.” Many times we hurdle right on past one of the richest holidays that has the misfortune of landing in between the start and finish!
If we don’t want to miss out on the gift that is this holiday, we must also make time to be purposeful about reflecting, and entering in to the meaning behind the Day of Thanks.
Here are 7 ideas to make this a “THANKS-ful” THANKSgiving.
“Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
1) Set an alarm for a couple times each day. When it goes off, let it remind you of everything that’s happened recently that you have to be thankful for. Sometimes we just forget to purposefully remember.
“Be thankful for problems. If they were less difficult, someone with less ability might have your job.”
James A. Lovell
2) Get rid of the biggest thankfulnes killer: pessimism.
When there is a problem, a pessimist thinks, “It will always be like this.” An optimist says, “This is a temporary set back; there is a solution to be found.” When something falls apart. a pessimist says, “Everything is bad.” An optimist says, “This is one area that needs work.” Start trying to recognize the times you are seeing the glass as half empty, and try and view it from an opposite perspective. You’ll start to realize there are so many things to be thankful for!
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
Albert Schweitzer, 1875 – 1965
3) Write a letter to someone who has been there for you, inspired you, or encouraged you. It feels so good to say the words that need to be said. Thank them for being who they are to you.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
4) Practice the art of wonder. Did you just arrive somewhere miles away from where you live without breaking a sweat, by just turning a key and stepping on a pedal? Bask in the wonder that you didn’t walk the whole way or have to invent and build your car. Did you just turn a knob and out came clean water to drink, clean or bathe with? Bask in the wonder that you didn’t have to walk to draw it out of well or decontaminate it.
“Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.”
5) Give to people in need. Make it a way of life. Research a social issue you are passionate about and find a way to be involved. My family has gotten involved with the International Justice Mission, an organization that fights human trafficking and frees modern day slaves. I am so thankful that we can give and every time we receive information from them, I am thankful for my freedom.
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
6) What is more ordinary than the basic senses? Take the time to notice the lovely things you touch, smell, hear, see, and taste this holiday. The warmth of a fire, the soft texture of a throw blanket, hugs and kisses from your kids, the smooth leather of your fall boots and bags…. And that’s just one of the five. I’ll let you make your own lists for the other 4.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
7) Make thankfulness a family tradition and teach your kids a healthy perspective. Allow time to talk about what you are thankful for as a family. Ask your kids what they are thankful for and really listen. It will create lasting memories and you may be surprised at some of the adorable things your little ones come up with. They may end up teaching you a thing or two about being thankful.