Five Gorgeous Ways to Give Thanks
During The Holiday Season
The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will always be my favorite time of year. The kid in me gets excited about pulling out my Classic Christmas DVDs, you know the ones I’m talking about… Rudolph, Frosty, and that cute Night Before Christmas movie. The adult in me gets mentally ready for planning the meals. The Christmas village gets taken out of the storage bins. The holiday aura fills the air.
Those things make up the concrete aspect of the holiday season. And I wasn’t always so giddy about experiencing the end-of-year festivities. Getting to this point, this state of excitement even when I might not always have a reason to feel happy took some attitude adjusting. As in, the scrooge I was becoming needed to take a quick hike. Little did I know, but I mastered the art of being gracious, something we should strive to do throughout the year and not only during the holidays.
There are many more reasons to show graciousness during the season of festivity and cheers.
1. Volunteer Work
There are a thousand ways you can choose to volunteer your time during the holidays. Some of my favorite charities are the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the ISF (Ian Somerhalder Foundation), the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, and the Durham Rescue Mission. I’ve always believed that giving your time to help those in needs produces something called a karmic request, that energy the universe gives back to those who choose to nurture it first. When you dedicate yourself to helping someone while opening your heart, then you’ll find waves of troublesome burdens lifting from your shoulders.
2. Speak to Kids at Your Local Library
Five years ago, I began my journey as an indie author (called self-publishing at the time). I recall the day I published my first book and sold six copies! WooHoo! I kept thinking how lucky I was to have sold anything at all given the unfamiliarity of the self-publishing model at that time. Many of my friends didn’t sell a single copy on their new release days. Fast forward a few years and I had the rules of the indie publishing business model down-packed. To this day, I’ve sold almost 200,000 copies of my books. Small chicks compared to the sales of some of my mega author friends, but still a highly respectable number in the indie publishing arena.
One day I received a call from the manager of my local library. She asked me to come and speak to a group of middle and high schoolers. I felt all smiley both inside and out. And yes, I battled anxiety for a bit there too. Even though I was nervous (fear get thee behind me) I still managed to pull off an awesome presentation for the kids. The students were ecstatic to hear the story of the single mom who fought to overcome obstacles galore and made a way to finance her passion… writing. From there, I made voluntary speaking engagements a must-do on my social calendar each year.
This one should go without saying, but all too often we hear about elderly family members being left alone at the nursing home, especially during the holidays. Don’t let this happen to someone you love. I too have been guilty of being too busy to spend time with my parents. However, I realized that one day I won’t have my mom and dad. Don’t leave goodbyes and fond memories to be spoken and created when it’s too late to do so. Take time to run an errand or two for mom or grandmom. Make a plate for your elderly neighbors who seem to be home alone more often than not. Help your neighbor, the single mom, hang those candy cane lights. Be a good person. Live in the mindfulness of the moment and bask in the beautiful energy you leave behind.
4. Donate to Your Favorite Charities
This one goes without saying as well. There are charities for all types of donations… from clothes to cars to hair (Locks for Love). Think outside the box with this one. Sure, the traditional outlets such as the Goodwill Foundation and the Salvation Army need your goods. We’ve got them covered, which is a super duperly good thing.
However, cancer patients could use a well-made wig and social services needs toys and monies to make Christmas happen for impoverished families. And don’t forget the animal shelter. There’s always a need for a helping hand or two at the kennel. Call yours and ask what you can do to help. You might be surprised by the answer.
5. Plant Seeds and support both your local library and elementary school’s science initiatives.
Here’s a karmic request that I’ll bet you didn’t know about. I found this one by accident one day while I was looking for movies at my local library. Situated in the very back of the building, a carousel of seeds waited to be discovered. (Sounds like somebody’s ready to go check out that Fantastic Beasts movie, right?) The display contained many nice packages of seeds ready for you to take home and plant. All free! The packets, designed and packaged by kids at the adjacent elementary school, contained seeds for flowers, trees, bushes, you name it! The only thing they asked that you do was to send a quick note and a photo to the child who packed the seeds and tell them about your success (or not so successful) planting story. A small gesture. But think of what your response will do for the child’s self confidence. Now that’s the essence of giving thanks in my humble opinion.One item that needs to be included and that some might not even consider an initiative is to take time for you! Kick back. Watch movies with a small group of family or friends. Relax. Recharge and repeat as many times as you like!
Images by Viktor Hanacek of Picjumbo.com
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