It’s November and this is typically the time of year when we all take more time than usual, or possibly stop for the first time all year, and begin to list the things we are grateful for. Thanksgiving brings that warm loving feeling out in a lot of us and reminds us of the importance of family, friends, and quality time. Here are a few challenges for yourself, your family and friends this fall season. I challenge you to try one or all of them, bringing an “attitude of gratitude” into your home and possibly having it last beyond the holiday season.
- A daily gratitude list – Each day write down one thing you are grateful for. Put it on a small piece of paper and drop it into a mason jar. On Thanksgiving Day, take time for each person to pull out their papers and share with family and friends what they are grateful for. To expand on this idea, make it one jar per family and write your name / date on each note (so you remember who wrote it and when). These can be one word notes or maybe a small message. It will be a great way to start your Thanksgiving Holiday as well as start each day with an Attitude of Gratitude. To keep this fun tradition going past the holidays, set dates for family gratitude dinners. (Christmas Eve, New Years, Day, the first of each month, maybe every Sunday Night). It can be a great way to keep a grateful heart and a great way to keep your family close. You might be surprised to find that one moment you took from your day, really touched a family member enough to make it on their gratitude list. Now that is a full circle of happiness!
- A daily or weekly Random Act of Kindness – These can be a lot of fun and really make your heart smile! Do something for someone else that is unexpected and unsolicited with no expectation of a return gesture. Some ideas that are fun can be paying for the car behind you in a drive thru line at a fast food place or coffee house. Leave a kind note randomly on a parked car in the mall on a busy shopping day to simply wish a stranger a great day. Stop and speak to a cashier or retail associate, look them in the eye, and ask how their day is going. Thank them for working today. If you have ever had a retail job during the holidays, than I’m sure you know that a person taking a moment to be nice goes a long way. NOTE: This is also a great opportunity to set an example for the little ones shopping with us. They learn by what they see and if your manners are great, it will rub off on them so remember please and thank-you as well. There are so many ways to leave a smile, help another, the possibilities are endless, and this is a great way to use your imagination and do these things as an individual or make a greater team effort as a family.
- Contribute to a charitable organization or participate in a charitable event – Contributions come in many forms other than money. Two that come to mind are time and effort. Volunteer for a local event, participate in the planning process, or maybe stay after to help clean-up along with participating. This is a great way to help important causes in your community, get to know your neighbors, and work together as a family. It feels good to give back. Soup kitchens are always looking for volunteers, as are pet shelters. Another great way to contribute (and get ready for Christmas) is to clean out your closets and toy boxes. So many toys and clothes go unused / unworn and eventually get tossed out with the trash. Make it a habit to help your children donate the items they are no longer using or have outgrown.
These are just a few ideas of how to have an attitude of gratitude and to help keep it past the holiday season. I hope you and your family are enjoying the cooler weather and as always, I have a happy day!