Well folks, our Christmas tree is up, the advent calendar is hung with care, and my parent’s Christmas light display is twinkling brightly every night. I’d day that all means that it’s officially Christmas season. And this weekend I definitely needed a little Christmas after a very hard week at work that took all the energy and devotion I had left this year. Now we’ve begun the quick slide into the holiday season it is more important than ever to remember to take a few moments each day for gratitude. Gratitude seems closer to our fingertips this time of year as we gather with family and friends for holiday parties and reflect on all that we have lived through in the last twelve months.Today, in lieu of Gratitude List 2016 Week 49 (since all I did was work, run, eat and sleep this week) I want to offer you a few tips for keeping room in your life for gratitude this season.
- Take five minutes a day to note down at least one thing you are grateful for. Use a diary, a phone app, even a post-it note! Just before bedtime is good, but going around the dinner table with your loved one(s) is a great time too!
- Try to find something unique and special about the day to express gratitude for. Instead of a general “I am grateful for my family”, try to make your gratitude about something new and particular about that day like “I am grateful that Chris and I got to take Penny for a walk and see a beautiful sunset today”.
- Seek out experiences that feed your soul and make you grateful for the life you lead. This week Chris and I donated a bag to Share the Dignity’s #itsinthebag campaign. Collecting items for the bag and thinking about the woman who would receive it come Christmas made me grateful for the ability and access to sanitary items and toiletries as well as little everyday luxuries as well as being grateful for our ability to give to others who may not have the same ability and access and make even one moment brighter for them.
- Recreate some of your favourite childhood memories. Bake biscuits with your Mum, watch a bunch of holiday movies with your siblings (make sure you have popcorn too!), sing along to your favourite Christmas carols at the top of your lungs and bring back some favourite dance moves, visit the Christmas section of the department store and pick out a new ornament for the tree (even get your photo taken with Santa!), read your favourite holiday books (mine is The Jolly Christmas Postman).
- Spend some one-on-one time with family and friends and spend more time listening than talking. Take your Mum out for a coffee and let her tell your how she’s really feeling. Spend an afternoon watching television with your Dad and let him fill the quiet moments with his innermost thoughts. Join your sister for her morning walk and let the conversation wander while you do. Listening to others is the greatest gift you can give in this age of constant distraction, and it rewards both parties.
- Notice people’s effort and thank them for it. If a co-worker goes out of their way to help you say a genuine thank you. Thank the sales people at the shops when they give you good service. They work extra hard at Christmas time to make your life and shopping easier. Thank the people who help you out all year long: your mail person, your GP and their receptionist, the vet and their staff, your garbage collector (who probably has to work Christmas Day). Noticing others’ effort reminds you of all the people your life is connected to and how much they add to our lives if we take the chance to look around.
Those are my six top tips for living a more grateful life at Christmas time and all year long. Step into this holiday season with a grateful heart, and when things get overwhelming take a deep belly breath and read over your gratitude list until the panic subsides. There is so much to be grateful for at Christmas so let’s make an effort to notice it all and keep it close to our hearts well into the new year.
Tell me, friends, how do you make more room for gratitude this time of year?