Welcome to Day 3 of Gratitude Week! Stay tuned for more posts on how to live more simply and manifest gratitude before the busy holiday season:
Thanksgiving seems to be more and more a giant carbo load before black friday, rather than what it’s supposed to be- a time to reap the harvest of your labors and bask in the gratitude of the people you’re with.
Thanksgiving itself can be stressful- I can recall many years of undercooked turkeys and crispy casseroles that left me wishing we had a private chef, but when I look back on those years, I’m still grateful for the (sometimes) stressful moments I shared with folks that may not be with us any longer. Those meal mishaps are now treasured memories.
I honestly don’t go crazy for Black Friday. I have friends that make it a family experience to camp out in front of Best Buy before 3am, but I have never had such luck. So, no matter what Thanksgiving means to you- whether it’s that last day of freedom before holiday stress creeps in, or a chance to meal up before you compete for the consumerist championships, Gratitude Week is a chance to tune in with what matters before you go out and buy a bunch of stuff you may not even need for people who may not even want it.
Here are my tips to have more and spend less:
– See if you can swap services or favors, not gifts. What is more meaningful than time? Helping a friend with an organizing project, adopting a family for the holidays or finally sitting down with grandma to record her life story will be time spent.
– Thrift and be thrifted. Go through your closets, what decorations and clothes can you donate? Spend a day filling up bags of anything you may not need or is causing you headaches. After you donate, step inside to see if there’s anything you can find that would make great decorations or craft supplies. You can often find new seasonal decorations with tags still on that are donated from major brands, or something vintage to use for craft supplies (vessels for candles, picture frames & mason jars are great for crafts)
– Make some phone calls. Today is the day you finally act on that passing “I should call her” thought. Make the call, you will be happy you did.
– Bust out a pen and paper. The act of writing clears your head and tunes you in. When you’re feeling low or anxious about life, take a minute to write down your blessings on a notecard or in a journal. See gratitude cultivating ideas here.
– Put reminders around your house. It has to be an intentional effort to cultivate gratitude, surround yourself with that intention. (free printables here).
– Write thank you notes. It will feel awesome to send some snail mail, so use your best stationery or send a “thinking of you” card to someone who has impacted your life or could use a boost.
– Surround yourself with friendly faces. Print photos of your family or swap out old ones. Smiling faces are the best art and it’s a frugal way to brighten your home.
– Give something away. Numbers can be misleading. Having $4000 in the bank sometimes feels less significant than $5 in your hand. Take 5 $1 bills and leave them in places in your neighborhood- donate to a charity, tuck a dollar in a library book, hide one at the park. Something small suddenly feels grand.
– Volunteer. You know you should. Schedule the time in and see where you should donate even one day of the weekend. Nothing puts life in perspective than spending time with people who NEED it- not at a shopping mall.
– Plan It Out. Take your normal calendar and instead of filling it up with tasks, pencil in one quick moment of something you’re counting as a blessing that day. You can write it in, type it in or put a post-it over the date after the fact to count your blessing for that day. 30 days later, you’ve got 30 blessings you will be happy you counted!
– Forgive. Chances are, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, jipped or annoyed- there’s a good chance you’re holding onto some past pain or biting resentment. Yes, you have every reason to feel the way you feel. Accept what has happened in your life, then, give yourself the gift of forgiveness- for past mistakes and mistakes of yourself and others.
– Walk Around Your House. No need to be preachy here, but heat, internet, technology, food and clean drinking water. Chances are, there are people within your zipcode who live with food insecurity or who have gone without even the basics before. Others have experience instant poverty in a disaster. Perhaps that person was you. There is so much we take for granted.
– Save For The Future. Today, commit to putting away $1 a day. It can be for anything- to donate to disaster victims, to save up for the future, to give to your favorite charity or to surprise a family member with a visit in the next few months. $365 are one year of $1 blessings. When you feel grateful, you will see how small gifts add up to something big- saving money is like harvesting gratitude, it counts.
We’ve all seen good times and tight times- no matter what “less” is for you, whether you’re going back to school, paying off a debt or saving up for something big- it can be easy to operate in a mode of self-inflicted poverty. True poverty is suffering, and luckily, most of my readers are lucky enough (myself included) to never experience it, but we know the sting of being broke. Being broke is tough, but we are still fortunate enough to operate from a place of gratitude to count the blessings we do have- running water, electricity, access to medical aid and a network of great people to support us in tough times..no matter how great or small these blessings.
My hope is that gratitude will make each of us utilize what we do have instead of stacking up and counting all the things we don’t, which oddly enough- the more you focus on lack, the more you have of it. The more you focus on what you do have, fabulously, the more you have.
Be Sure To Check Out Other Participating Bloggers For Great Content This Week!: