The coats, mittens, hats, and boots emerging from storage signal that another festive season is upon us, and plans are already in the making for celebrating and feasting. What more wonderful way to begin a time of gifting and shopping, eating and drinking, singing and “ho-ho-ho-ing” than Thanksgiving – a day to remember and reflect upon all of the blessings in our lives.
In that spirit, here are a few ways to make this time even more meaningful:
1. Create a new family tradition. For example, have everyone at Thanksgiving dinner write down one thing for which they are thankful. Collect them, shuffle them, and pass them out for each person to read one aloud, and maybe even have fun guessing who wrote what. Or, go around the table and have each person share what they love about the family.
2. Tell your loved ones you appreciate them and why. When we create happiness for others, we will find ourselves more positive and less stressed. And, when our loved ones know how we feel, our relationships deepen and concerns over “things left unsaid” vanish. Perhaps even go as far as to write down your appreciation on a card so the person can keep it for years to come.
3. Invite a new guest. Think of those around you that do not have a family or home to visit during the holidays. What a difference you might make for the person you invite!
4. Think of those less fortunate. As is the practice for many of you already, remember that there are people all around us who do not have everything they need. Whether your contribution is food, clothing, money, or time, you can impact the quality of someone’s life.
5. Start a “gratitude journal.” Studies show a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful. Those benefits include better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and children. We will also find more meaning and purpose in life, and can share that with those around us.
It is our hope that your list of blessings fills many pages, and that you will find countless joys in the holidays this year. Happy Thanksgiving!