Gratitude. The holiday season brings a fresh realization of our need for it. Not just on the day we’ve set aside to be thankful, but each and every day.
Dr. Brene Brown talks all about gratitude in many of her books and focuses on how we so often try to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” when the reality is we need to go so much further than that. She argues that joy can’t be achieved without the practice of gratitude each and every day. A practice meaning a tangible activity that we do whether it be journaling or verbalizing our gratitude in front of others before dinner.
The realization of what we’ve been blessed with grounds us and can also give us give us a peek into the hearts of our loved ones. When we understand what they are thankful for, we can then understand what brings them joy. This knowledge can then equip us with the knowledge of how to love them best.
With the holidays fast approaching, we’re all about to spend a certain amount of time in other people’s homes. Whether it be a small or large amount, we’ll all be in the trenches of experiencing hospitality in some way, and let me tell you, this is such a gift. Just having a place to call home for these special occasions is a blessing, and any additional effort put into the hostess is just gravy (yes, the literal gravy for the meal can be included in this).
I’ll be honest, large gatherings are hard for me- harder still when the majority is family. These are days when my anxiety tend to be heightened. Probably because these are the relationships that truly matter. Not that others don’t, but these are the relationships that will last our entire lives. Everyone else in our lives can come and go, but family- well, you’re kind of stuck with each other. So expectations and pressures mean more to me coming from family than from most, and I think this is probably true for a lot of people.
That’s why the fear of confrontation and drama during the holidays can cause tension even in anticipation. The thought of discourse matters to us. We hope for these people we love the most to remain happy. So when words are said that we disagree with or eyes are easily rolled it’s stressful. This juxtaposition challenges us when around family. These are the people who are supposed to love us no matter what so it’s easy to let our guards down when it comes to words and actions, but all that truly does is lead to conflict and bitterness that in turn robs us of our joy. It can be so easy to list the negatives when it comes to family, but what if we went into holidays instead, with a mental list of positives. Take all the time you need to think of them- even if it’s just a few things. Make a note and take those thoughts with you to the holidays. And before you go, don’t just focus on them, express your gratitude for them. Even if they’re small, express them and keep them close to your heart throughout the day.
Like I said before, we are blessed to have a resting place during the holidays. The home we are welcomed into should never be taken for granted. Some people are left alone on holidays while others are simply removed from family and friends. So this year, take that truth with you and begin to practice gratitude. The smallest of steps can be in bringing a hostess gift to an event. Nothing big- more often something small just to remind them that their efforts are valued and appreciated. Below I’ve put together and easy one (truly- it took me just minutes!) that translates no matter what the season.
- Copper piping and caps- most Home Depot stores have these in little cardboard boxes in the plumbing aisles. They’re about $4 and change!
- Twine- I prefer cotton, but use jute, ribbon, etc.- whatever you prefer.
- Hot glue gun
- Cute dishtowel- below are some favorites!
Instructions (get ready for how easy this is…)
- Measure how much room you need to create a pocket at the top of the towel and then put a thin bead of glue across the top creating a pouch for the pipe.
- Slide the pipe through the pocket and cap off both ends.
- Attach twine on either end. (I chose to braid mine middle school camp style, but this is entirely up to you!)
It’s so easy and is such a sweet little gift to bring. I love having this in my own home because I will switch out the towels depending on the season! So if you attend holidays at the same home, you can make it a tradition and bring a new towel every year.
There you have it. So easy. And while you’re putting these together, use that time to make a mental list (or write it on paper if you come from an especially challenging family and may need the hard copy reminder…) of all the things great and small that you are grateful for about your friends and family.
Until next time!
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