Thanksgiving Dinner

Kicking off the Holidays in a State of Thanksgiving

We hear it a lot this time of year, “What about Thanksgiving?!” “Did you forget about Thanksgiving?” It’s all in good fun teasing those of us that decorate for Christmas November 1st, but in all honesty I totally do put Thanksgiving out of mind except for the actual day itself.

It’s really quite sad when you think about it. We’re given this amazing opportunity to start out the most busy and materialistic holiday season with a holiday of pause, reflection, and literally a time to give thanks for everything we already do have in our lives (material and immaterial) and most of us don’t give it a second thought. Even if we don’t decorate for Thanksgiving and already have our Christmas shopping going I think stopping and being filled with thanks will do us all some good. What do you do to remind yourself of everything you are blessed to have? Here are a few ideas to get in the right mindset for Thanksgiving (and maybe all year round).

Gratitude Journal

They say keeping a gratitude journal can change the whole outlook you have on life. It is even used at times as a therapeutic tool for anxiety and depression. It’s actually quite simple: you start off your day or end your day writing down things you were grateful for that day. It doesn’t need to be a long list, maybe three or five things. Even on no good very bad days you pick out three or five things and reflect on why you can be grateful even on those days (even if it is just that you have indoor plumbing, which actually isn’t such a small thing!!). You could just do it Thanksgiving week or this holiday season, but if you stay consistent you'll see your mindset change.

Have Visual Reminders

As humans, if things are not right in our face we often forget about them-- especially if we are feeling down, mad, or ungrateful. Having visual reminders of what we are grateful for is a fun way to remember what we are grateful for. A visual reminder could be a written down list of what you are grateful for and taping it to your bathroom mirror to read in the mornings when you brush your teeth or pictures of your family on your lock screen or in frames on your desk. Just something to remind yourself of the good you have in your life.

Include All Things

A quote I love by the author Ralph Waldo Emerson is “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Easier said than done for sure and this guy knew it. His wife died of tuberculosis, lost his religious faith because of it, and yet (after time) he still said be grateful for all things because they move you forward and make you who you are. Essentially be grateful for who you are becoming. 

These are just a few ideas that will hopefully make a big impact on your hectic and sometimes anxious holiday season. You could do any of these with a spouse or as a whole family. You could all list off the things you are thankful for (maybe even write it on a pumpkin), share photos of the people or things you are thankful for, and talk about how you have grown and overcome this year. So go ahead, set up your Christmas decor, but don’t forget to be thankful while doing it.

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