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For some odd reason our gratitude seems to get thrown out the window much faster than our grudges or complaints.

We seem to hold on to the things that are making our lives harder and focus little to no energy on the things that are making our lives sparkle.

I know I do it and for some reason around the holidays I feel like I do it more often.

Being around family can be awesome and exhausting and I feel like too easily we let the complaints seep in when really we should be looking at all of the positives.

So what can you do this holiday season to keep your spirits high and to see the light in all of the chaos of the holidays?

1. Look at your parents or whoever raised you.

Look at your mom and dad and see how amazing it is that these people raised you with no idea what they were doing. If you are a decent human being than you can really see how crazy it is that they raised you to be a good soul without actually every receiving instructions on how to do so. For that I have endless gratitude. My parents taught me to be kind, gentle, loving, and supportive. They taught me to aim high and go for my dreams. I couldn’t be more grateful for the love and support that they endlessly put into me as a child to make me know that I can achieve whatever I want. Thanks mom and dad!

2. Notice the effort that has been made to put holiday dinners and presents together.

As we get older and realize that buying people presents is expensive and time consuming I”m realizing that Santa had his work cut out for him. Not to mention that when I try to cook more than one thing at once I feel like my head is spinning-how has my Grandma cooked 8-10 dishes at once, hot and ready to eat at the same time? I am so grateful for the time, energy, and money my family has put into creating family traditions.


3. Listen to hear and not to answer.

I know I do it. People tell me things and I’m so focused on my response that I’m barely listening to what they are saying to me. This year I’m focused on listening to what they have to say and keeping the conversation on them. Our older relatives don’t tend to have as many friends and people to rant to as us, so when Uncle Al goes on his political rant maybe we can sit and listen for a few minutes. Hey I never said you couldn’t have a glass of wine in hand.


This isn’t your typical list of things to be grateful for this holiday season and I’ve broken it down so that it’s actionable.

It’s 2016 and it’s time for us to open our eyes to the time, energy, money, blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into creating our family traditions. The older we get the more aware we are that food doesn’t just appear on the table, presents don’t wrap themselves, and relatives might not have the constant support that we do from friends.

This time let’s try something different. Let’s throw our complaints and grudges out the window and keep the gratitude. Be gracious for the food, the presents, and even for Uncle Al and all he has to say about politics-remember, the wine is never a bad idea.