The Family Forum: Counter the Holiday Rush with Gratitude
The holidays are upon us. Could anything be more wonderful…and stressful…at the same time?
Personally, I find the months of November, December and January a little ironic. In November, we gave thanks for all that we have, were grateful for the roofs over our heads, the food on our tables, and the family and friends that gathered around those tables.
In contrast, in December, we elbow strangers to get the latest toys that our children MUST have. We work ourselves to death to be able to afford something our children will play with for a week, and then throw in the closet. We stress over our gift lists and worry about what we’ll wear to parties.
Then January comes and it’s time to make our New Year’s Resolutions. We make vows to be “a new, better you” in the year to come.
Feeling a little pressure? Hey, FYI, December and January: this year I’m going to take a cue from good ole’ November. I’m going to practice being grateful…for longer than just that turkey-eating day.
In December — while I wrestle with putting up decorations — I plan to be thankful that I have a house to decorate. I’ll be thankful that I have friends and family to share in the joyous season. I’ll make sure my child is taught gratitude for any presents received.
When the new year rolls around, January will see that same grateful person, ready to tackle anything the new year brings my way. I’ll be grateful I’m around for another year to spend with family and friends. I’ll be grateful I get to see what exciting new technology and advancements 2018 will bring. I’ll be grateful for all the new opportunities and possibilities the year might offer. I’ll be grateful I have the ability and confidence to look in the mirror and think: “Yeah, I could lose a few pounds, but I’m still pretty darn awesome no matter what I look like.” This year, let’s take the advice from the smartest month of the year: November. Let gratitude be a conversation had at the dinner table with family. What are your children grateful for?
Consider starting a gratitude journal. I did years ago, and always love to look back at it and see what I wrote down.
For instance, years ago, I was driving and had my toddler in tow when my van broke down. It happened right in front of an auto shop;how lucky was that? The men in the shop saw that I had a toddler and worked hard to get my van out of the street and then brought us to the air conditioned office. I was so thankful that they treated me with compassion and tried to make us comfortable while we waited on a ride.
The next day I sent a bunch of pizzas and sodas to them forlunch to show my thankfulness. They called to thank me because usually, they just heard people complain.
One act of gratitude can make another person’s day. Have you ever had someone open the door for you and you returned the favor with a genuine “thank you”? Have you ever thanked a teacher, a veteran or a nurse? I’m grateful that I have this amazing opportunity to write this column. I appreciate that you took the time out to read it. Thank you. What are you grateful for today?
By Melissa Carrigee