It’s Thanksgiving. This means that around the country, people are sitting with family and friends, sharing food and family time. Perhaps that family is a family of two, or it might be a family of twenty and counting. Perhaps that family is a family of friends and neighbors, of people who are dear to you. It may be that you are alone today, sharing this time with your own thoughts.
Sometimes it can be hard to feel thankful. We live in a time of great change, when families are challenged to live within their own means and the means of the earth. Sometimes it feels easy to slip into a pattern of thinking that your life is hard. It may very well be hard: all of our lives are hard sometimes, and certain times are much more difficult than others.
Whether you are feeling stuck and depressed or thankful, joyous, and surrounded by family, here are some ideas to help you express gratitude. This small objects and containers that you can keep around your home are much more than decorations: they are ways to bring thankfulness into the rest of the year.
A gratitude journal
A few times a week, write down the things that you were grateful for. Do this before bed, and carry them with you into sleep.
A gratitude jar
Write down things that make you grateful. Open the jar when the family gathers at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other special occasions.
When you are happy with someone in your life, write them a little love note and stick it into a jar for them. They can pull love notes out of the jar when they need to be reminded of how they are loved.
We keep a small bowl on our table, and this contains blessings that we can read before meals and any time.
This year, my daughter created a thankfulness tree with statements about things that make her thankful. Place some of the big ones at the base of the tree.
These cards remind us how to be kind to others and share our appreciation for them. Write ideas for sharing kindness and thankfulness with friends, relatives, and family members. When you are feeling angry or stuck, take one out, meditate on it, and try to bring this to your next interaction.
These ideas are good for family rituals and for children, but I think that they’re just as valid for adults. In the rush of everyday life, it’s easy to forget to be kind and grateful. I always appreciate the reminder.
Image Credit: Billy Frank Alexander