Create an Attitude of Gratitude All Year Long

{This post was originally published on Mom It Forward on November 2, 2013.} 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays (second only to April Fools Day, which I know is not a holiday but for someone who has a wicked sense of humor, it’s more fun than birthdays!). Anyway, Turkey Day isn’t all about the meal for me – it’s about family and blessings. And even though it’s a four-day weekend, Thanksgiving never seems long enough. In fact, the retail merchants skip right over Thanksgiving – displaying Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. And the madness of Black Friday shopping has invaded the sanctity of Thanksgiving Day itself. 

What if you could make Thanksgiving last all year long? What if you could capture that feeling of gratitude and count your blessings every day? And what if you could give your family a fun way to create a habit of daily gratitude? Here are a few suggestions to get you and your family started! 

Tips for Creating an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Family

Gratitude Cards

1. Color Your Kitchen with Gratitude Cards: Who needs an entire notebook when you can do the job with a single index card? Buy a stack of colorful index cards and keep them in the kitchen where everyone will see them. Any time someone feels joyful, take a minute to write a sentence or word down on an index card and post it on a wall, refrigerator or bulletin board so you can all be reminded of your blessings. You can also use sticky notes.

 2. Find a Gratitude Buddy: Divide the family into pairs (or trios) so everyone has a partner. Make a commitment to share one thing each day that you are grateful for. It helps to have someone else depending on you and expecting you to deliver a thankful thought each day!

3. Make it Thanksgiving Every Day: If you enjoy the tradition of going around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and expressing a sentiment of gratitude, why not make it a daily habit? With young children, you can make it a game. At my house, we play “High/Low” at dinnertime. Each person shares a “high” and a “low” from the day. It’s an opportunity to really connect and learn what’s going on in each other’s lives.

4. Create a Grateful Doodle: Sometimes there are no words to express our feelings. Let your markers and pencils do the talking by spending 10 minutes doodling your delight on a blank page. Children love this exercise and there’s a side effect – you get to experience the Art of Being a Stress Free Mom!

Gratitude doodle5. Write Where You Are: Sometimes it’s just too much to add another project to keep up with. What are you already writing on or in every day? A shopping list? Day planner? Devotional? Add a sentence of gratitude anywhere on the page! Don’t worry that it doesn’t “belong” there. There are no rules – gratitude belongs everywhere!

6. There’s an App for That. If you’re a digital family, enter your expression of gratitude into an app you can share.  Try Happy Tapper, Gratitude Journal, Live Happy, Evernote or Gratitude Stream.

7. Be Social: Turn your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets into a feed of gratitude.  Post an image on Pinterest or Instagram that shows your gratitude every day. Make it a point to share your blessings with your virtual friends and family each day. You may be surprised to see some of them join in! Take it a step further by joining a project like Ann Voscamp’s Joy Dare.

DSC_0147-1024x8138. Go Green and Grateful: Try the eco-friendly approach of expressing your gratitude on a chalkboard or whiteboard someplace visible in your home. When something new fills your heart with joy, erase it and start over. Invite the entire family to join you. This takes the pressure off how many sentiments you have to come up with and how often you need to add to the list.

Now, does that help make the gratitude thing seem more manageable? I’d love to know what’s working for you and your family– leave a comment here and let me know how you are practicing gratitude in your home!



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