Thanksgiving: A Gateway of Gratitude
This season of the year is so exciting; it's a time for gathering and giving, but those two lovely things, if not intentionally done, can turn quickly into gluttony and greed. So how do we avoid these two age old sins? While we don't claim to have all the answers, we do think that there is a fairly simple solution. Gratitude is the key to avoid our gatherings turning into a feast of gluttony allowing the sweetness of giving good gifts to become overrun by greed.
This year, we want to be more intentional about turning Thanksgiving into the grateful gateway of the holiday season. We want to appreciate Thanksgiving more as it helps set the framework for the season. There are so many people who deserve our gratitude and even more ways to show it. Here are a few ways we want to practice having an "attitude of gratitude" as we enter the holiday season: giving help, giving gifts, and prayers of gratitude. None of these ideas are revolutionary, but we hope they are the small reminder that you might need to frame the season ahead with gratefulness in your heart.
One way to show gratitude is to learn to give back to those who need it more than you. Do you remember that early 2000s film called "Pay It Forward" starring Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, and Haley Joel Osment? It's funny that a film that I watched once was impactful enough for me to think about it again twenty years later, but it's the story behind this film that I want to mention. The whole premise behind the film is a little boy who accepts a challenge from his school teacher to "change the world". This boy really takes this idea to heart and comes up with a solution, he wants to do something kind for three people. If those three people also do something kind for three more people, these acts of kindness begin to grow exponentially.
So are there three people that you could help this year? Just three people, even strangers, that you could help in anyway available to you. If you need help generating ideas of ways that you can help in your local community, we love this website called JustServe.org that allows you to type in your city and state and find opportunities to help. There are also ways to volunteer from home.
Another one of our favorite ways is to give life-sustaining help to people near and far. We like these two organizations, Heifer International and Church World Service, that allow you to give the gift of an animal that will help a family eat for the coming year. Our family loves to choose an animal for a family in need, whether it's a goat, a flock of chickens, or a sheep.
In mentioning greed, we are not trying to downplay the sweetness that comes from giving a good gift. We sincerely hope that you have had the experience of being more excited to give a gift than receive it. In the somewhat somewhat jokingly wise words of a "trending" sound on TikTok: "builds the economy, hurts nobody".
Gift-giving is one of the five love languages for a reason; it's a way to build relationships and enhance our human connections. We also believe in giving quality over quantity gifts. One really thoughtful gift is more exciting that five last minute purchases.
There are definitely different levels of giving, but any gift can be heartfelt. Giving a meaningful gift is a way to show love and gratitude to friends and neighbors. One of my favorite items to give is our Swedish Anglaspel. As you light the candle the figures spin and light flickers through the rooms creating stunning shadows on the wall. It's not too expensive, but it is truly a source of great joy and light for the season.
Another sweet gift that keeps on giving is one of our paper garlands. This are made in India and support paper artisans in Jaipur. The art of screen printing and making cotton paper is a craft we want to support and preserve through these beautiful garlands. There are lots of different designs for people with all sorts of traditions and beliefs. There is a Nativity Garland, Santa Lucia Garland, and collections of Christmas and Winter styles.
Growing up, I had this neighbor who always made an assortment of holiday sweets that she delivered early on Christmas Eve--peanut brittle, frosted sugar cookies, fudge squares, and more. Another neighbor would make a plate of homemade pretzels with cinnamon sugar. This year, I am excited to attempt some homemade stollen, a German Christmas bread. If you love to bake a holiday treat to share these cotton bun warmers are a great way to keep tasty treats warm as you make your sneaky deliveries.
We want to share one more of our favorite gifts for your girlfriends, family members, or neighbors: mistletoe. We love this little reminder to make sure the season is playful and filled with love and smooches. Here are a few of our favorite styles of mistletoe: Brass Leaf & Glass Bead Mistletoe, Deco Mistletoe, Wool Felt Mistletoe, and also a Mistletoe Anglaspel. Which one is your favorite?
Here is a collection of other little items that would be great gifts for neighbors and friends. We have even added an option on our Nativity Paper Garland, Santa Lucia Paper Garland, Holy Family Anglaspel to be able to purchase in sets of ten to receive a small discount for purchasing multiple. Happy giving!
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Last but not least, we believe in simple acts of devotion that help make the season meaningful. Almost all major religions in the world are able to unite in prayerful practices. While our prayers may be different, or take a different form, it is a way to meditate and appreciate all the good things, and the hard things, in our lives. It is truly our hope and prayer that your will find this season more meaningful as you take the chance to show gratitude to those around you and to a power greater than our own.