Gratitude is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones this year, and every year that follows. Christmas is not about the iPhone, the iPad, Xbox and PlayStation or any other of the presents you will give. Nor should it be about maxing out your credit cards and catalogues. It is about the people around you, forging and fortifying deep abiding love with them, and inspiring great joy for all of you.
With the excitement of the holiday season building, all of us, whatever our age, young or old, can so easily get caught up in the commercialization and present buying and giving frenzy that has become the norm.
But it doesn’t have to be all about give-me, give-me, give me. Christmas can be a time focused on showing gratefulness for what we have and for those we love. Presents are wonderful, but the true treasure of life is love. To love and be loved. To spend time with those you love and who love you. To realise that by next Christmas the gift of Christmas past has lost its sparkle, its meaning to you, but hopefully your loved one will be there, Christmas after Christmas, until they aren’t. Gratitude is the greatest gift that you can receive and share.
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. Brene Brown
When I used to sit down at the table on Christmas day did I show my gratitude for my mother, who she was, how brave, strong and loving. For her being my mother. For her being there with me. Never enough, and now every Christmas day her absence dominates the day.
We often have so much in our lives to be grateful for but you don’t notice it or don’t pay attention. Ignoring the fact that gratitude is the greatest gift for all of us.
I didn’t truly learn to appreciate what I had in my life until I went through the difficulties with my sight. Having lost almost all my vision in my right eye, my greatest fear was losing it in my other eye. Then I realized I had a choice. To make the most of the time I had or give in and just wait, and probably wish blindness on myself.
There was no benefit in me being bitter for what I had lost, or scared for what may happen. From that moment forward I changed. From the second I wake up I am grateful that I can open my eyes and see out the window, I am grateful for every writer whose words I read, every friend that I connect with, and especially ever moment I get to spend with my children and grandkids.
I was able to benefit from my biggest problem in life. I believe it demonstrates ‘every cloud has a silver lining,’ or as Napoleon Hill said:
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. “
So, my suggestion to you is do what I did. Imagine you are blind. What is it you’ll miss the most. Make sure then you are grateful for it or them now, and let this gratitude vibrate through you, and for you to realise what’s truly important in your life, notice it and pay attention to it, now, before it is gone.
I have to add here, that in truth blindness does not take any of these things away. I now know many people who have lost or never had vision, and they are some of the strongest most grateful people I’ve ever come across. True demonstration that adversity can bring the best out of some.
Research shows that practicing gratitude improves our emotional and physical well-being, reduces stress, worry, fear, anxiety and fights against many chronic illnesses so helping to prolonging life. Psychologists have research that demonstrates people can increase their happiness by practicing gratitude.
Of all the thoughts you experience and control, there is one that can profoundly transform your life on a daily basis—Gratitude.
So, at least over the rest of December, focus time on those you love and appreciate, not just on Christmas day. Spend less time thinking about the gifts to give or the ones you want to receive and more about the memories you can build and those magic moments you can create. Make sure your Christmas is full of wonderful memories, conversations, laughter and love. Give your loved ones the same and demonstrate to them that gratitude is the greatest gift.
Build a sense of gratitude and thankfulness this Christmas. Teach them to acknowledge at least three good things every day. Each night before bed, write down at least three things that went well today.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy