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Cultivating Gratitude This Holiday Season

It can be very easy to get caught up in the flashy sales and the “buy, buy, buy” retail culture that surrounds this time of the year. But is that what it’s really all about?

This holiday season, try slowing down and practice gratitude for what you already have and less focus on what is on your wants list. Read on for some simple tips to shift the focus on what really matters.

Gratitude List

The easiest way to create a feeling of gratitude is to create a list. For every day in December, write three things down that you are grateful for. Even better is to get the whole family involved!

Ask the kids at bedtime to name 3 things that make their hearts happy. Create a placeholder card at the dinner table on Christmas night where everyone can list what they are grateful for. This small activity helps shift the mindset towards realizing what you already have – it’s enough.

Less is More

Putting thought and detail into one gift is sure to be better received than giving a bunch of generic, off the shelf gifts. Think about the person who is receiving this present – what sparks joy for them? Was there a time you saw them really light up while talking about something? Is there one special item that they have been putting off buying for themselves that you can surprise them with?

Gift Opening Mindfulness

Slow down the frenetic pace of opening all the gifts at once. Take turns and open one gift at a time. This allows everyone to admire the thought that went into the gift, and to appreciate and thank the gift-giver. For extra mindfulness, create a thank you list as you go and have everyone write a nice thank you note to mail out the week after Christmas.

Create Gift Experiences Outside of “Stuff”

Gifts don’t always have to come in the form of a wrapped present with a toy inside. Think outside the box this holiday season – Give the gift of “time” and create a fun date day for a loved one, consider making something or baking cookies. Another thoughtful gift idea is to donate funds to your favourite, or the gift recipients’ favourite charity.

Giving Back & Serving the Community

There is nothing more humbling and eye-opening than serving those around us who are not as fortunate over the holiday season. Getting out there and volunteering your time at the local food bank or even bringing some hot chocolate and cookies to your local senior home is sure to warm their hearts and yours!

Boxing day is a great opportunity to create a discussion with children around giving back. Go through old toys and set some aside for donation, while making room for new ones, and use it as a chance to explain how others may be less fortunate and would love a gently used “gift” from your kids.