365 Grateful blog

Guest Post - Amy Gill - Tis the season to be thankful...
Hailey Bartholomew - Sunday, November 27, 2011

We welcome in the Christmas season with some wonderful wisdom from Amy.


‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la….

Really already?

I am not sure where the year has gone or how it is possibly the start of December this week, but it is, and so the most crazy, busy, stressful, financially draining and exhausting weeks of the year begin.

But to be honest, I don’t see it like that at all. Let me start again….

I am not sure where the year has gone or how it is possibly the start of December this week, but it is, and so the most wonderful, joyful, family-centered, season of giving begins.  Bring it on!

I love Christmas. I love the parties; the way people get together and rejoice in each other’s company. I love the atmosphere out and about – carolers, decorations and excitement in the air. I love the smell of pine throughout my house and the giggling of my girls at the slightest thought of anything christmassy.

But most of all, I love the traditions that come with Christmas. I am grateful for the traditions my parents established for us as we grew up – fresh Christmas trees every year; setting up the nativity set without baby Jesus who would magically appear on Christmas day; reading ‘The Night before Christmas’ after mass on Christmas eve before we would set out food for Santa and his reindeer. My girls now follow the same traditions and have some new ones to call their own. We now make a point of travelling to the city to see the Christmas windows; our advent calendar brings gifts from Christmas angels; and our Santa photo experiences are traditionally a disaster! All these things add to the season and they make me happy.

This year I also wanted to start two new traditions with my girls. The first stems from something my mum did when I was younger. Mum would often make up a hamper of food and presents at Christmas time for a family in need. It was a different family every year. Mum would find a way each time to anonymously deliver the hamper to this family.  One year the hamper went to a family of a lady mum worked with. The lady didn’t know me so mum dressed me up as an elf and sent me off to deliver the hamper. I will never forget the look of gratitude in her husband’s eyes as I gave him the hamper. “Who is this from?” He asked. “Santa,” I replied. “Thank you. Thank you.” Hopefully, our new tradition will teach my girls that it is more important to give than receive.

The second tradition I want to start is centered around gratitude. Each day when we mark off a day on our advent calendar I want us to write down something we are grateful for as a family. I want to string these pieces of gratitude together and hang them around our tree.  This is what I want Christmas to be about for our family – gratitude. Gratitude for all that we have had throughout the year; gratitude that we have our health and each other; gratitude that we have a house over our head, food on our table, presents under the tree.

Christmas should be a time to celebrate each other and give thanks for all that is good in our lives. Maybe it is time to start a new tradition in your house too?

And while you are thinking about what that tradition might be, spare a thought for poor mothers everywhere, trying to get the perfect Santa photo to place on the mantelpiece