As I shared at the beginning of last year, a Gratitude Journal is a wonderful way to be mindful of things to be thankful for – to boost mood and increase happiness – and to stay aware of all of the things in life to be thankful for, despite things not always going our way. Sometimes by the time the day of holiday celebration rolls around we can be completely exhausted from the big flurry of activity getting ready for the occasion – and it can be hard not to lose sight of why we did it all in the first place.
So for this time – and all going forward – I’m proposing a break from the rush of activity and creative exhaustion – to just try to savor and appreciate the moment more, and not push ourselves too hard. To bring gratitude back, and do away with forcing perfect. The holidays particularly are a wonderful time to begin this tradition for your family, friends, and loved ones – and even yourself to gain some peace of mind! Here a few ideas for creating your own tradition for giving thanks:
5 Easy Ways to Create a Holiday Tradition of Giving Thanks
- Use a beautiful journal, diary, or notebook (try this sequin guestbook one for a super high-end look – or this gold foiled notebook set for chic and simple) and have guests at your special occasion write one thing they are thankful for. Add to it every year, and read previous year’s entries aloud to the new guests.
- Have each guest write what they are most thankful for on a slip of paper and drop into a vase in the center of the table. Go around the table and have each person pull a slip of paper out and read it aloud.
- Have each guest write what they are most thankful on the back of someone else’s place card – when your guests sit at the table they will find a secret snippet of gratitude on the underside of their place cards.
- Having kids at your celebration? Have them each draw or write things they are thankful for onto paper placemats you use for both the kids – and the adults! – at the meal.
- Before the meal join hands and have each person share something they are grateful about regarding one of the other guests there as a heartwarming start to the celebration.
Do you have any holiday traditions around which you emphasize giving thanks? Please share!
I’ve found that the right attitude is truly half of a chic life.
But sometimes, even if life isn’t getting us down and we aren’t depresssed per se, we can get into a rut of wake up, go to work, go through the motions, come home, go to sleep, and do it all the next day…without even feeling present in our own lives. We can feel complacent and bored; tired and irritable; or just flat-out burnt-out.
To feel that you are indeed RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE living a chic life, full of abundance, comfort, and happiness, requires a massive shift in focus. But it can be a very tiny change in what you think, to start a cascading ripple that emanates out to all other areas in life. So often we focus on minutiae: what hasn’t been done, what lacks in organization, never-ending home repair projects, the tediousness of daily life. In order to rediscover the minutiae that bring happiness, sometimes it is as simple as writing it down.
How to Start a Gratitude Journal
To Start Small:
Write one thing you are grateful for down in your place of choice before going to bed.
What makes you smile, what are you glad to have? What couldn’t you do without? How is your life blessed? Focus on each one as you write it, truly feeling thankfulness as you write it. Write it on paper, spell it out with scrapbooking stickers, leave a note on the mirror in lipstick. Any way to permanently record something that you are aware of that makes your existence better in some way.
Write down ONE. Just ONE. One thing, little or big – from that you’re grateful to have a roof over your head to you’re grateful for your best friend to your grateful that it’s tangerine season because you love snacking on those little suckers. Challenge yourself to write something different each day (doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering)
At the end of a week, re-read everything you’ve written and feel it wash over you like a wave.
Upgrade your journaling habit to include what you will do to show this gratitude to the person/thing referenced when you note it down at the end of the day, as a To Do for tomorrow. Feel it tonight, create some action tomorrow. Whether it’s calling your Mom to tell her you love her, slipping a note under your neighbor’s door, complimenting a coworker, texting an old friend out of the blue. Write…then show. And watch how these actions create bigger ripples of positivity and happiness in your life – and the lives of others.
You have abundance. You have many things. You have many friends. You are living a full life.
This lovely Gratitude Journal was given to me by my friend, Lex Casciato (also known as the musician Little Warrior, who put together a lot of cool curated Spotify playlists for this site awhile ago). I am filling it daily with my gratitude – and my first entry was all about my bestie and how talented and thoughtful she is!
Here are a couple of my favorite Gratitude Journals:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (aff. links)
And there is even an app for that! TheGratitudeApp
Do you keep a Gratitude Journal? Has it helped your outlook or mood at all?
P.S. The gold bangle in the top 2 photos is my DIY Free People Wrapped Quartz Bangle – click for the tutorial!