Give yourself the gift of gratitude

‘ Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la, la-la, la…la- la, la, la…. I SAW YOU ROLL YOUR EYES!  Ok, so maybe you aren’t feeling all that jolly…. Are you trying to meet one final deadline at work?  Panicking over the ingredients that you can’t find as part of the holiday meal that you’re planning to make?  Worried about all the calorie-packed meals?  Or maybe you’re just stressing out over what to buy for your next gift exchange?  Christmas may not be the most widely celebrated holiday in Hong Kong, but it sure is a popular time for exchanging and giving gifts.

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, and everyone expects that Christmas is a time for family gatherings, but every now and then, we will get way too wrapped up in our heads about the details related to these holidays and lose perspective on the elements that make it so satisfying.

Sure, everyone woman wouldn’t mind an extra piece of jewelry.  Just as every dude probably won’t mind having another electronic gadget.  Yet I would suggest, as radical as it may seem, that the most satisfying gift that we could possibly receive this holiday is a self-given gift….the gift of gratitude.  It doesn’t really matter how many presents we receive over the holidays, how big those presents are (perhaps a trip to Thailand, a new laptop, or a trip to the spa), these gifts are meaningless if we do not receive them with an open heart of gratitude.  I’m not very big on religious ceremonies because I believe in celebrating every day.  It shouldn’t take a public holiday to remind us that life is worth celebrating.

Have you ever seen a child who throws a tantrum and refuses to leave a toy store until they get what they want?  Ever wonder why do they do that?  Sure, maybe they are trying to push the limits with the parents, but the point is, there is nothing wrong with wanting another toy.  The problem arises when they aren’t grateful for the toys they have already received.  They just want yet another toy for the sake of wanting it.  Adults aren’t that different.  We often get so absorbed by this “more” and “bigger is better” culture, that we easily forgot the pleasure that comes with being content.  Practicing the art of gratitude is actually an active practice we need to do every day, just like brushing our teeth…and many of us are probably getting a lot of “cavities” because we are allowing negativity to permeate our lives.

This holiday season, regardless of what your plans are, whether it includes traveling or just relaxing at home, take a few moments of quiet time to help you unwind and reconnect with yourself.  Allow gratitude to flood your mind and heart until you’re bursting with joy.  THAT is how you stay jolly!

Judy Wong

Writer, Speaker and Lifestyle Coach