Practicing Gratitude During the Holidays- 11 Easy Tips To Try

practicing gratitude during the holidays

Gratitude has so many benefits that can help us on a daily basis, but especially during the holidays! Practicing gratitude during the holidays can help with reducing stress and depression, keeps us from emotional spending and eating, and it improves our relationships. These are of course great any time, but gratitude is just especially helpful during the busy holiday season.

Even if you think it’s cliche to be grateful during the holidays, it doesn’t really matter. Just the act of being grateful, whether you feel like it or not, is meaningful and can start to lift your spirits. It’s a little bit like the saying, “Fake it until you make it.”

And you don’t have to get tons of Christmas presents, or have a huge feast of food at Thanksgiving to be grateful. In fact, it is during the most difficult and challenging times that its actually easier to be grateful because it forces us to pay attention more to our circumstances.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, I was not truly grateful for things like having the freedom to go the movies, travel, or even just all of the abundance of variety in the grocery stores. Sure, I thought I was grateful for those things, but was I really?

Did I truly appreciate it? Sometimes its hard to really understand what you have until it is taken away. It isn’t until you lose something unfortunately that you realize what you had-and that doesn’t make you a bad person- just human!

Now, I don’t have to be reminded to be thankful for my freedom. Every night I go to sleep thankful for food on the table, and the freedom to go out while so many other countries are locking down people again, especially the unvaccinated.

Practicing Gratitude During the Holidays and Every Day

You don’t have to wait until something is gone, or even for the holidays to practice gratitude though. A daily gratitude practice can seem tough to remember at first, but it does get easier. The more you see the benefits in your daily life and the improvement on your mood and well-being, the more you will practice it.

If you don’t already have a daily gratitude practice, or you just want some new ideas, keep reading for my 11 easy tips to practicing gratitude during the holidays.

Don’t Force Practicing Gratitude During The Holidays on Others

Practicing gratitude during the holidays should be a choice, never forced! I don’t know about you, but when I was younger I was shy. So being forced share something I was grateful for in front of classmates, or with family I barely saw during the year brought a lot of anxiety. It also made me feel like practicing gratitude during the holidays was kind of fake and silly. Which is a shame, as it can be a really great practice to bring people together- even those who may not get along in other circumstances.

You may have good intentions, but don’t force practicing gratitude during the holidays or it won’t have the same meaning. It’s much better if you give people a warning before you ask them, and never put anyone on the spot.

Ask them to be more detailed instead of just giving a general response. It’s ok if they want to write it down instead too. However, if they don’t want to practice it, don’t force it. Set an example, and share your gratitude with them. Even if they don’t participate, you will still be making an impact.

That being said, if you want to try practicing gratitude during the holidays, but aren’t feeling it-do it anyways! Once you get started, you will likely start to feel more in the mood. Just make sure you do things that you enjoy, or your gratitude practice may start to feel like a chore.

Add Gratitude To Your Daily Routine

One way to practicing gratitude during the holidays, and any other time, is to make it part of your routine. That way, it becomes like second nature such as brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed. You don’t even really think about it, you just do it! It doesn’t feel like a chore, but a part of your day.

So find a time you can add gratitude on a regular basis. For example, put a journal next to your bed so writing down something you are thankful for is the first thing you do when you wake up and the first thing before bed. You will probably feel much better if this is something you do instead of mindlessly scrolling on social media!

In fact, if you reach for your phone first thing in the morning or before bed, you may want to set a reminder alarm to practice gratitude. You can also try a gratitude app that sends you reminders and gratitude quotes at times you pick. We are already staring at our phones so much, why not add gratitude?

You can also add practicing gratitude during the holidays by coming up with holidays rituals you do every year. Some other routines you can do every year during the holidays:

A gratitude journal you and your family do a week before Thanksgiving

Writing thank you Christmas cards (writing a note of why you are grateful for someone instead of a traditional card)

Having everyone say something they are grateful for at Thanksgiving dinner (if they are all on board with the idea)

Telling your family why you are thankful before you open your presents

These are just a few ideas you can try! Think about what holiday traditions you already have, such as watching certain Christmas movies, or baking cookies, etc. and add some gratitude to it!

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media can be toxic, but I think it gets a bad reputation unnecessarily. It’s only as bad as you allow it to be. If someone is making you feel bad, then you can block seeing their posts. You can choose who you follow and what you focus on!

Social media can really help you with practicing gratitude during the holidays. Use social media to follow inspirational and motivational accounts. Do a gratitude challenge where you share what you are grateful for every day. After all, gratitude is even better when shared and it can be contagious!

Use social media as a chance to tell someone why you are thankful for them, give a local business a shout out or positive review, donate to your favorite charity online. There are many ways you can be practicing gratitude during the holidays with your favorite social media if you are creative.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

There is just something so magical about writing down your thoughts and emotions. It really helps with manifesting, and it can also help with practicing gratitude during the holidays.

Keep yourself accountable by having a gratitude buddy or family member that you read your journal too after a certain time. For example, challenge each other to write three thing sin the morning and/or three things at night that you are grateful for. Then on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any day you choose, you read them together.

For the holidays, ask for that expensive beautiful gratitude journal or fancy pen you’d never buy for yourself.

The holidays are a great time to start a gratitude journal if you haven’t yet.

Start a Gratitude Jar

Gratitude jars are like a gratitude journal, only its a shorter phrase. You can add to it in the morning and night like a gratitude journal, or you can keep it somewhere you see often and add to it whenever the mood strikes. You can use them alone, or you can have the whole family pitch in.

I love to start one on New Years Eve, and have the whole family contribute all year. Then, on the next New Years Eve you open and read about all the blessings you had that year!

Of course, if you do this you will probably need a LOT of gratitude jars, but luckily they are pretty inexpensive. You could also just put them in an old shoebox or Amazon box (come on, we all have a lot of those probably!). It also doesn’t have to be a New Years Things-you can open them on Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, etc.

For more on gratitude jars, you can read my post on it.

Look For The Good in Challenging People

It’s no secret that the holidays can bring out the worst in people. For those of you who work in retail, I am very sorry! it is also a time when we may spend time with family we don’t always get along with, or when our coworkers get on our nerves. Many people are also sensitive due to feeling lonely, or grieving a loss of a loved one.

Practicing gratitude during the holidays is a great way to combat this stress. If someone starts to turn you into the Grinch, just start listing things you are thankful for about them.

While its usually better to be detailed, if all you can come up with is they were quiet for five minutes, or they have nice shoes usually- that’s ok! In fact, its ok to even be just plain silly here. The point is to just get yourself thinking positive things about them and away from any negativity.

At the end of the day, even the most annoying person is still human and we all have some good in us! Instead of focusing on what annoys, you try looking at what you do like and watch your interactions with them change! If you are really brave, try giving them compliments too. Yes, out loud! You can do it!

Volunteer and Donate to Charity

Practicing gratitude during the holidays is easier if you volunteer and donate. When you see others who have less then you still happy, or you see their gratitude, it is hard to not be grateful too. The holidays are such a great time to help others! While you of course can do this any time, the holidays are especially challenging for many.

Spend Time in Nature

I understand some areas may be too cold to really spend a lot of time in nature, but if you are able to then by all means do! Spending time looking at the beauty of nature is a great way to make you feel more grateful. Seeing the beauty of nature makes it almost impossible to be unhappy! If its too cold, then just looking at beautiful pictures or videos of the wonders of the world can help too.

Do Small Acts of Kindness

You don’t always have to spend money or donate to charity to make an impact! Just giving a stranger a compliment, letting someone go first in line at the store, or sending a quick thank you text to a friend, can do wonders for your gratitude practice! Practicing gratitude during the holidays doesn’t have to be complicated!

Visit A Nursing Home

There’s nothing like getting older to make you reflect on life and the meaning of it. Our elderly have lived and experienced so many interesting things. It doesn’t cost you any money to visit and spread cheer to someone and you will likely learn something as well. I don’t know about you, but it also feel good to be appreciated!

As I get older, it can be so tough for my friends and family to find even a few moments to spend with me. We joke about it on social media and mom groups that having friends as an adult is hard, but it’s hurtful isn’t it?

While not everyone at the nursing home will be in the mood to socialize just because you visit, there is likely to be no shortage of people who have time to sit and chat phone free for a few minutes with you!

If your own family doesn’t want to try practicing gratitude during the holidays, you are also likely to find someone who will at a nursing home.

Tell Someone

Tell someone you are thankful for them! You can write why you are thankful for someone in your Christmas cards, send an email or text, or just write a letter. It doesn’t matter how you do, but taking the time to tell someone who you are thankful for them will not only lift your mood but also their mood.

Final Thoughts on Practicing Gratitude During the Holidays

I hope you enjoyed my tips for practicing gratitude during the holidays. The holidays can be stressful and lonely, but they don’t have to be! There is so much good out there, and taking a few moments of your day to notice it by practicing gratitude during the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. How are you practicing gratitude during the holidays? Share in the comments below about practicing gratitude during the holidays!