I love this time of year. Here in Australia, we don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving, but due to our ever-connected world, I still catch glimpses of what it means for people living across the globe who have the privilege to take time out from their lives to express gratitude and celebrate love with people they love.
But sometimes, during this time of year, when we’re wrapping up work, planning the festive season and getting ready for lots of food and celebrations – we can find ourselves drifting away from the real essence of Thanksgiving.
Sure, the food is divine, the drinks flow freely and the air is filled with the scent of Christmas around the corner. Decorations adorn our homes and presents start piling up under our trees. Then we blink and we’re counting down for the New Year and prepping ourselves for another year of the same, with well set intentions and our goals written in ink (if you’re old school like I am!) and on we march into a fresh new year…
But how many of us are really relishing in the moments we spend together? I’ve lived through too many Decembers where I’ve been so focused on gifting, getting the food perfect, organising schedules and even planning what to wear. But in recent years I’ve cut everything back to take the stress away from this hectic and magical time of year. Instead of worrying if my sister in law will love her well thought out gift, I take the time to write a heart felt note of appreciation for the support we’ve received from her and her family. Instead of spending a festive family lunch discussing New Years plans, I take time to ask everyone around the table what it is that they’ve been truly grateful for this year and what it is that has challenged them, forcing them to grow.
This isn’t all just for the appreciation or even to force those around me to focus on gratitude.
The magic of taking the time to really embrace gratitude is that it actually slows down this time of year and lets your take more of it in for what it really is.
Finding a moment to pause and stand in reflection each evening to breathe in the beauty of a lit up Christmas tree. Having long and meaningful conversations over the end of a meal with someone who’s impacted your life this year and actually letting them know why they mean the world to you. Watching a child play with wrapping paper instead of the present – taking in their joy and enthusiasm for life to remind you of a true intention for the coming year ahead. Simply ‘being’ in the moment with friends and family.
There are so many ways that gratitude will enhance your Thanksgiving, you just need to do it right. And by right, I mean in each moment, as much as you can, giving thanks for everything that is going on around and inside of you.
That’s my true meaning of Thanksgiving.
For more from all-round gratitude guru, Ange Simson, check out her blog, The Gratitude Project here.