I think gratitude is something that should and can be practiced year round. I don’t necessarily give gifts just to get a “thanks,” but I do notice when people are grateful and it makes me feel a little bit like that energy and investment into their happiness is worthwhile. So, as a mom I’m a huge advocate for showing gratitude, and this holiday season I wanted to share how we say thank you and why it’s so important in our family.
When the kids get a gift for the holidays (and birthdays, and just because), we sit down and write thank you cards together. It doesn’t have to beautiful but it is important to me that it’s handmade. If we get busy or forgetful, I’ll make sure to send a text or email to thank the person for their gift and list one reason why the kids or I appreciate it. If it’s cash, I always try to share what I plan to do with that money so the person knows how much I truly appreciate it, and how it benefits our family (hint hint: it usually it goes to our next adventure fund). The point is people are happier when they know they’ve contributed to your happiness!
My kids are bit older now and my six year old can write pretty well, so I try to have her do the whole text of the card or note herself. Sometimes I’ll add some pretty font to the front, and we’ll make a “crafternoon” out of it. The littlest can’t spell too many words but she’s pretty good at practicing her name, so I help translate whatever she wants to say about why she likes her gift and then have her sign it.
This is the perfect opportunity to use up all those obnoxious glitter stickers that would otherwise end up on your walls, furniture or in your hair. I tend to keep random packing supplies from previous gifts and even scraps from wrapping paper. We collage pieces together with glue sticks and double sided tape, and if I’m feeling adventurous, I might even bust out the hot glue gun – as long as I’ve got an ice pack and cool running water nearby because when toddlers are running around someone is bound to get burned. But I have to share my favorite tools for little hands are these tempera paint sticks.
I let them color the front however they want. If we’ve got watercolors they can use them. Markers? Fair game. Glitter glue? You bet! Let them express themselves with their own inspiration even if it doesn’t relate; the process is really powerful to them and they’re getting in the habit of expressing gratitude. Bottom line … there’s no wrong way to do it!
Another nice trick I like to do, is to add a drop or two of our favorite essential oils to a spray bottle and mist the envelopes (but make sure your address is written in waterproof ink!). And, while the smell may or may not fade by the time it gets to our family and friends, maybe the mailman (or woman) thinks a happy thought as they gather our mail that day. I’d like to think it adds just a little boost of positivity to the people around us. Once our thank you cards are ready to be sent into the world and they’re stamped and sealed, we think happy thoughts as we walk to the mailbox and put them in, sending love and gratitude into the world.
How do you and your kids say thanks and share love this holiday season? We would love to know so comment below.