It’s Thanksgiving season, and Facebook is being flooded with posts about gratitude. The season serves an excellent reminder for all of us to take stock of what we are lucky enough to have, and all of the blessings, creature comforts, and good people in our lives. But what about the rest of the year? Are we given license to be ungrateful just because Thanksgiving isn’t around the corner? It seems ironic that something like Black Friday comes just a day after we gather to be thankful for what we already have. Gratitude shouldn’t be something that can be switched on at the start of November and then switched off the moment Thanksgiving Day ends. It needs to be a part of our lives all year, even on those days when we feel like we don’t have a lot to be thankful for.
So, how do we keep the spirit of Thanksgiving with us all year? Here are a few suggestions:
Take the time to appreciate and thank others for things they do for you. Send someone a note to tell them how much you appreciate them.
Thank your children when they do something right and let them hear you thank others. This will help them feel appreciated for things they do right, and teach them that being grateful is an integral part of everyday life.
Send hand-written thank-you notes for gifts and small favors. Help your children learn to do the same.
Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or make a care package for a family in need in your community. Shovel snow from the driveway of the elderly widow who lives down the street. Doing these things will bring you and your own family a newfound appreciation for the things you do have, and give you a chance to be grateful for the opportunity to help someone else.
Keep a gratitude journal and go back to reread it often. This will make it easier to remember things to be grateful for even during times when gratitude is less forthcoming.
During dinner, go around the table and have each person talk about one thing they’re grateful for that day.
Practice noticing things to be grateful for every day. Then, when times are tough, you’ll be able to find joy in small, everyday blessings.
The benefits of having a thankful heart all year go without saying. For one, you and your entire family will learn to appreciate the blessings in your lives, great and small. And for another, you and your children will be able to look at life with an attitude of gratitude—which is definitely something to be thankful for.