Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and after a year that has challenged most people in one way or another, a focus on gratitude could not be more apropos. Despite a year of pandemic illness, natural disasters, political strife, and societal upheaval, there is still much to be thankful for.
As the year begins to wind down and the holidays draw near, bring your family members close and make an intentional effort to celebrate the many things you have to be thankful for.
Here are a few ways to do just that.
Start a List
Perhaps you keep a list on your refrigerator of groceries you need to buy. Well, how about a list of things you’re thankful for?
Keep a pen at hand and invite your family members to add to the list whenever they think of something new. You’ll be surprised how quickly the list grows.
Make It a Topic
Simply make gratitude a topic of conversation in your home.
Each night at dinner get into the habit of asking what everyone is thankful for. Allow it to become a new routine you follow during your nightly meal together.
This may also be a nice topic at bedtime. When tucking the kids into bed, have them name something they’re thankful for. Consistently embracing gratitude is a habit that will warm everyone’s hearts.
Grow a Thankful Tree
My personal favorite: Place a couple of branches in a vase and cut out some cardboard leaves. Punch a hole in each leaf and attach a string for hanging. Then keep the leaves in a basket or desk next to the vase, along with a few writing instruments.
Each day, have your family members write down something they’re thankful for on a leaf and hang it on the tree. By Thanksgiving, you’ll have a lovely centerpiece to remind you of the many blessings you enjoy.
I mean really give it—to others. Thank anyone you can think of to thank: your parents for bringing you up, a former teacher for helping you through math, an old friend for being there through thick and thin, the mailman for delivering each day.
You can get crafty with cards and small gifts or simply send a quick note or make a phone call to give thanks where thanks are due. The more you do this, the more people you’ll think of to thank.
Bless Someone Else
As you bask in a mindset of gratitude, it doesn’t take long to recognize that the blessings in your life are abundant. Share your abundance with others by blessing someone else.
Perhaps you could find a family in need and provide them some holiday cheer, or declutter your home and carefully donate toys and clothes to others, or deliver homemade cookies to someone who could use some cheering up.
The thing about generosity and charity is that you’ll reap a reward in your heart you won’t soon forget—and you’ll find yourself with even more to be thankful for.