By Megan Trask, TULA Co-Founder + CEO
The season of gratitude is upon us! While I’m very grateful for any meal that includes mashed potatoes, I love, love, love, focusing on all the things I have to be thankful for and sharing time with family and friends doing the same. I also love celebrating traditions from my childhood and creating new ones with my family. Here is a list of some classics but maybe some new traditions to try on as well:
- Set the table with plain kraft or butcher paper and hand all of your guests sharpies when they arrive so they can write down what they are grateful for. Also, love this one as it is not only a good way to share gratitude but you’re covered for a tablecloth. Hint: highly recommend adult supervision when littles and sharpies are involved!
- Volunteer! While food banks, food pantries, and shelters are often overrun this time of year, there is no bad time to volunteer. This year when you volunteer make it a new tradition to sign up for a couple of future dates as well.
- While many of the usual volunteer opportunities are overwhelmed with help at this time of year, there are many opportunities you may not even know about. Check out VolunteerMatch.org for volunteer opportunities in your community!
- Have everyone write down something they are grateful for and drop it in a bowl then read them outloud at the table and try to guess who wrote what.
- Have your guests bring extra canned goods to dinner and drop them off at the foodbank after the holiday uptick subsides.
- An oldie but a goodie - should you find turkey on your table, save the wishbone and make a wish. Turn this into a scavenger hunt for the kiddos or draw names to see who gets to be a part of breaking it. Whoever holds the biggest part of the wishbone after breaking it gets to make a wish but also in a new twist of gratitude, has to share what they are most thankful for.
- Add in a little movement like a walk between dinner and pie! This may not seem directly related to gratitude but I’d argue you’ll be thankful you did it!
- I grew up having big holiday celebrations filled with family, cousin shenanigans, and delicious food, but it was also a tradition for the kiddos to deliver dessert. I’m certain it was not the smoothest service but it was definitely entertaining… be thankful for all the things that don’t go perfectly during the holidays, they make for (mostly) great memories!
- Ohh speaking of pie… pie for breakfast is completely acceptable, right? At our house, morning-after-Thanksgiving pumpkin pie is a tradition! Okay, I’m working pretty hard to work this one in, gratitude for leftovers, yeah, that’s it!
Last but not least, carry the gratitude forward, while seasonal traditions are lovely and fun, make gratitude a daily tradition with a gratitude journal, quick morning meditation, adding a note in your phone, a quick list at the top of your daily planner/notebook, it doesn’t matter where, just put a little gratitude out into the world. There is plenty of research showing the positive benefits of practicing gratitude including less stress, better sleep, improved relationships, increased productivity, better overall physical health, and just general happiness… and the list goes on and on! Give it a try!
I’ll leave you with a quote I love from Zig Ziglar, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
Cheers to a season and life of gratitude!