The first sign of impending doom usually comes in the mail. One peaceful day, the passing of the mailman — presaged by that subtle hum-pause-hum of the mail truck — foretells an ear-splitting battleground. Brother against brother. Sister against brother. Who will triumph?
Whomever is the first lay hand on this harbinger of avarice: the dreaded TOY CATALOG.
It’s all downhill after this. Every conversation. Every trip to the store. Every advertisement watched, heard, or clicked on. Every hint at the date becomes the opening refrain of: “For Christmas, I want…”
Truly, I love Christmas as much as anyone. I love gift-giving. The choosing, the purchasing, the wrapping, the actual transfer — I get all the feels. I’m not knocking them. We learned to love giving good gifts from the ultimate Giver Himself!
But when Christmas is bearing down upon us, I have an intense need to keep the material gifting in its proper place. And part of that need is satisfied in exercising conscientious, proactive gratitude for the blessings we already have.
A few years ago, I started a Thankfulness Countdown for our family. Each day of November, we discuss and write down at least one thing we already have for which we can be grateful. Some are tangible things — chocolate, cuddly blankets, favorite toys — and some are the intangibles. A Savior. Good friends. Eyes that see. Time spent together as a family.
I haven’t posted about it often, but our family has continued in this tradition for five or six years now — and I love it. Each year, I bind the cards and save them with our keepsakes. It’s been precious to see how each child’s gratitudes have changed over the years. Even their handwriting grows from year to year, and I treasure this ongoing “growth chart” of their daily thoughts.
What does your family do to cultivate gratitude each year? To fend off the ubiquitous drumbeat of gimme-gimme-gimme that the holidays seem to usher in?
For anyone else who wants to cultivate a little more gratitude in your household, I’ve updated the Thanksgiving Countdown for 2019 and posted it below as a FREE PRINTABLE.
Use the buttons to download your own Thanksgiving Countdown, in either a letter-sized format, or — if your printer takes 4×6 size — a 4×6 index card option. (I printed mine in the 4×6 size on kraft cardstock, cut down from 12×12 sheets that I found here, but you can use whatever paperstock you prefer.)
Hope you find this little tradition helpful in training your thoughts on all the blessings we have each day.
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