Remain thankful during the holiday season, don’t let the little things divide you

Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

Thanksgiving hopefully is a time filled with family, friends, good food and of course, thankfulness. Our gratitude for the abundance of blessings we all have should, at least for the moment, outweigh whatever problems and complaints we may have. But, life is messy and complicated, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of forgetting what the holiday is about or only harvesting a spirit of thankfulness for a few moments while posting on social media.

While it may not seem like it, we do all have so much to be thankful for. For some of us it may be our health, our family and friends, our financial stability and our education. Let’s highlight those things and shift our focus from the things we may feel our life is lacking.

In today’s divisive and polarized political climate, holidays centered around family can sometimes lead to political debates that aren’t always friendly or welcome. Discuss politics or don’t, to each his own, but at the end of the day remember the meaning behind the holiday and keep your thoughts and hearts rooted in gratitude.

Politics are important, but sometimes people’s opinions or beliefs can be hurtful or offensive. If you think you do need to speak with a family member or friend about their beliefs, try to find another, more appropriate time to talk to them one-on-one. Big family arguments on holidays often don’t help anyone and can cause more problems than they solve.

The same goes for Black Friday — if shopping on Black Friday is your thing, go for it. Have fun. But don’t forget that it was just the day before that you were thinking of all the ways you’ve been blessed, and you shouldn’t lose that sentiment when shopping.

With Black Friday sales starting earlier and earlier, don’t let them persuade you into making Thanksgiving a purely commercial holiday — remember it is about family and friends and being thankful. If it works for you and your family, make Black Friday a family outing. Enjoy spending time together while observing both “holidays.” There is nothing wrong with shopping and wanting to get the best deals, but don’t let it consume the weekend.

All in all, we are each blessed in so many ways, and this holiday season is a wonderful time to remember that. We should make conscious efforts to be intentional with our words and to remain thankful beyond the holidays, even when it’s difficult.