Thanksgiving and Hanukkah: Days of Giving and Gratitude

Can the message of gratitude inspire a new attitude of sharing with others?

Posted Nov 27, 2013

However for many people, the connection between food and relationships is not just a holiday affair. Many food banks need help year round – it is about sharing and giving back.

In thinking about the concept of giving back, perhaps there is some significance in knowing that this year Thanksgiving is also the first day of Hanukkah, a celebration of the Festival of Lights. Such a convergence is so rare it will be hundred of thousands of years before it occurs again.

Perhaps there is a message here, a message of giving and gratitude to inspire new relationships of sharing with others — that which we have received in abundance. 

Perhaps it is also a time for each of us to rethink the value of gratitude.

A word about gratitude -- it eases anxiety, alleviates stress, and can put a smile on anyone’s face.  Researcher Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, has said that gratitude is an attitude not just a feeling,

"Attitude change often follows behavior change. By living the gratitude that we do not necessarily feel, we can begin to feel that gratitude that we live."

Smiling, saying "thank you," sending thank-you notes, and making gratitude visits are attitude boosters.

Gratitude benefits

Grateful people are found to be generally happier, with more social connections and fewer bouts of depression, which affects 20.9 million American adults. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population 18 and older has a mood disorder in a given year.

Developing the gratitude attitude -- try the basket method

You might just keep a basket full of quotes on your kitchen table to reach into at various moments in the day.  And at special holidays, put the basket on the table and invite everyone to take a gratitude quote and read it. You will see how quickly gratitude quotes, expressions, and thanks are generated. 

Then you might take it a step farther and ask everyone at the table to put into another basket something for which they are grateful.

For the long term, find a place in your home to turn a table into a gratitude desk. 

  • Fill a basket with stationary, note cards, and even birthday cards.
  • Make certain to have at least two working pens in the basket.
  • Add at least one book of stamps.
  • Buy a journal in which you make a note to yourself of someone who deserves a thank you note and date it. When you send out that note, add that date as well. What you will often see is that too much time elapses from the day in which you said to yourself "I should write that person a note" and the day you actually get to write it, stamp it, and get it into the mail.And "No" email does not have the same power. From Revitalize Your Love Life with a Three Day Gratitude Plan

Today is a good day to turn Thanksgiving and the Festival of Lights into the start of a lifelong journey, one that is filled with an attitude of gratitude.

Have you read these pieces?

4 Ways Children Learn Gratitude

Let Gratitude Bring Back Your Smile | Psychology Today

Copyright 2013 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved