Need to lift your spirits this holiday season? Here are three beautiful gratitude traditions that are sure to fill you with hope and happiness.
Gratitude is the fastest elevator of our thoughts and our emotions.
It’s an instant connection to our heart space.
And it soothes the soul, even in our most challenging moments.
But embracing gratitude doesn’t mean that we look at every situation and see sunshine and rainbows. It’s not living with Pollyanna rose-colored glasses all the time.
Instead, gratitude is an anchor to return to – a practice that gives us the stability to grow through life’s toughest situations and appreciate what they teach us.
You see, gratitude gives us an appreciation for the lesson that exists in addition to the pain.
It allows us to look beyond circumstance and into the possibilities that still remain.
For example, when I lost my son, I could only focus on the moment of his passing for a long time. It was so painful, and it was robbing me of the happy memories we had shared. But over time, my gratitude and appreciation for the time we had allowed me to focus on his life –instead of his loss.
Do I still feel the sting and the pain of losing him too soon? Absolutely. But the gratitude I feel for sharing in his life at all is what moves me through the pain and into the awareness that …
Love never dies, and my Drewby will always remain with me in my heart.
It’s not a transformation that happens overnight. But it is possible.
And it is absolutely worth the joy and gratitude that’s waiting for you on the other side.
Here are three practices that will take you one step closer to feeling the transformational power of gratitude this holiday season.
3 Gratitude Traditions For The Holidays
1. The Gratitude Elevator
One simple technique I use to keep myself rooted in gratitude during the holiday season – and all year long – is the gratitude elevator.
Whenever you feel like you need to lift your spirits, think of an elevator that takes you up and down, and each floor is a different emotion.
Start by asking yourself what floor you’re on right now. Angry? Burn-out? Insecure? Worried? Frustrated?
Once you know where you stand, imagine yourself stepping into the elevator. Hear the bell. Feel the buttons under your fingers. See the buttons light up in your mind’s eye.
Then decide where you want to go. Which floor will you get off at? Understanding? Hopeful? Optimistic? Creative?
Or perhaps you want to take it straight to the top – and get off at the Gratitude floor.
If so, visualize yourself pressing the gratitude button. Feel yourself traveling up, up, up. And when you hear the ding of the elevator bell telling you that you’ve reached the gratitude floor, trust it. Believe in it as the elevator doors open and you step into gratitude.
2. The Gratitude Box
I love gratitude journaling. It always helps me ground into gratefulness when I sit down and put pen to paper. But during this time of year, sometimes we need extra support to find gratitude – especially if you’re mourning the loss of a loved one.
That’s why I have a slightly different version of gratitude journaling for the holidays. In fact, this one involves your family and friends, too.
It starts by choosing a beautiful box or container, preferably one that has a special or festive meaning to you. Place small pieces of paper and pens around the box and set it all in a spot where everyone will see it. Then ask your friends and family to write a small note of gratitude, or a note of remembrance for your loved one. It can even just be a memory you’re grateful for.
If you’re moving through grief, this is a beautiful, positive way to keep your loved one’s memory present. If you’re simply gathering your family and friends for the holidays, it’s a great way to keep the collective focus on gratitude – and off of any drama or tense family dynamics.
To take it to the next level, each person can read their note aloud to the group and share their gratitude with the table. This way everyone can participate without putting people on the spot. There’s no pressure to participate, just the loving and compassionate flow of gratitude.
3. The Gratitude Tree
This is another play on the Gratitude Box. Instead of a box, however, I use a tree branch. I use a beautiful tree branch and hang it somewhere beautiful inside. Then I set out Christmas tags or little cards, and I decorate each tag with my favorite memories of Drew. I tie them to the branch, so everyone can read them. I’ll also leave more tags and pens out, so other people can add to it if they want.
It’s a beautiful way to celebrate gratitude, either individually or all together.
How Will YOU Celebrate Gratitude?
However you decide to celebrate gratitude this holiday season, I hope you share it with me!
Tell me your favorite gratitude reminders and traditions in the comments below.
Please share with me, and have a blessed holiday season!