Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something. For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations. Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge. Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary. Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.
While it is something that should occur year round, the holidays mark that time of year that we suddenly become more cognizant of the blessings that fill our lives. The term “Thankful” becomes increasingly popular in mid-November and is used extensively through the month of December. Unfortunately, as we move into the new year, not only our vocabulary, but often our actions fail to reflect the gratitude that can be used to express our thankfulness. What are you thankful for this holiday season, and how will you express your gratitude? More important, how can you carry that sense of thankfulness into the new year and use it to help others?
Matt Pearl considers this idea in his post, Making Thankfulness and Holiday Spirit a 365 Day a Year Goal. Like many of us, Pearl first connected with the food, decorations and presents associated with the holidays. He states, “Such factors defined my early end-of-year-experiences,……… now Thanksgiving has come and gone and I find myself viewing the holiday season from a far different perspective.” He then sets forth a challenge, “The best qualities we, the celebrants of said holidays are able to show our fellow man, are the very qualities we choose to put on display during this season.” What qualities will you put on display, and will you continue to display them through the new year? What a wonderful gift that would be!
Angelique O’Rourke asks, “What is Your Company Doing to celebrate and give back during the holidays? Her Bplans.com post, How to Bring the Holiday Spirit of Giving Into Work provides some suggestions for fostering a warm, friendly culture among staff while simultaneously contributing to those less fortunate. Her ideas include:
• Have a Giving Tree – To set up a giving tree in your office, attach tags in place of ornaments, each representing a charity or organization in need. Employees can select a tag from the tree and fill the stated need. Alternatively, you can always have your employees purchase physical items from a local charity’s wish list, and then place them under the tree as gifts. A group of colleagues might even enjoy dropping these items off together.
• Sponsor a Family – Check with local homeless shelter and have them identify local families in need. Split the office into groups, each with a budget and a family to sponsor. Each group is responsible for purchasing basics like coats and socks, as well as presents for the family, and these things are then delivered in time for the holidays.
• Combine the Holiday Party with a Charity Auction – Consider combining it with a silent auction, so everyone can have the great experience of a fun holiday event while also bidding on some donated prizes. You can give the money raised to a local charity.
• Sign up to Participate as a Group in a Local Event – Sign up as a team to do something for the local community. How about an Ugly Sweater 5K?
• Bring the Spirit of Giving to the Office – It’s wonderful to give to charity during the holidays and all year round, but it’s also thoughtful to encourage your employees to be generous toward each other.
Here’s a better question, Which of these ideas will your company continue to incorporate into its culture as something that is done year round?
Suffice it to say that this week will be a challenge for all. The stress that can occur from the holiday-related hustle and bustle can certainly serve to compromise our enjoyment of the season. Alena Hall proposes 5 Ways to Bring A Sense of Gratitude to Your Holiday. She recognizes that the demands associated with the holiday season can become overwhelming. With this in mind she recommends five strategies that will serve to better connect us with the people we love and simultaneously let us be more mindful of the blessings we have:
1 Start your morning slowly: Wake up 30 minutes earlier. Perhaps to take a walk or simply have a cup of coffee and enjoy the silence of the morning. Savor this time. You will be surprised how it will creates a sense of gratitude and optimism as the basis to start your day.
2 Put your phone away during family time (and time with friends) – Use this time to engage with family of friends. The email, text, twitter post, or phone message will always be there, however, will you have this opportunity to connect with your brother, sister or close friend again? Remember the purpose of this time and you will feel thankful later that it was uninterrupted.
3 Savor the meal – Resist the urge to scarf it down. Take time to appreciate the presentation of the meal. Take in the aromas. Likewise eat slowly and converse. Let the meal and everything about it be something you savor. Your later memories will be of not only the food, but the people, sounds and aromas of the entire experience.
4 Ask to hear a story you’ve never heard before – Whether it be with a friend or family elder, try to learn something about the past and tie it to the present. You will find that it serves to make you feel closer to the person sharing the story with you.
5 Take a few minutes to reflect before bedtime – It’s easy to simply want to crawl into bed and fall asleep. As you did in the morning, do so again in the evening. Take a few minutes to reflect on the day, its activities, conversations and your own feelings. Remember the hug from your sister, or the warmth of a friend’s handshake. “Process these beautiful memories so that they hold strong inside of you for years to come. That way, you’ll never lose sight of the fact that you have plenty of things in life to be grateful for.”
As I think about it, these five ideas can be carried beyond the holidays, and perhaps they can serve to let us carry the “Sense of Gratitude” we feel during the holidays with us all year. It’s going to be a busy week for all of us, take time to enjoy it. I’m certain no matter what the demands, you will Embrace the Challenge!