It goes without saying, 2020 has been a strange year.
We have witnessed periods of involuntary isolation. We have witnessed social distancing and the compulsory wearing of masks. We have witnessed and felt uncertainty.
Needless to say, even if we didn't want to be, we were all impacted somehow by the pandemic, and still are.
In Australia, the lockdown restrictions are gradually easing, and we can start to enjoy time with friends and family again. However our friends in America and Europe as well as other part of the world are going back into lockdown measures.
And it brings us to reflect and think about the power of the physical human connection. A touch, a hug, seeing a smile, hearing a laugh, feeling someone's energy near you.
Perhaps we took these for granted before.
Did the pandemic remind us what is most important?
Yes. We think so.
And that's why, in the lead up to Christmas, instead of focusing on giving gifts of materialistic items, why not focus on giving the gift of gratitude?
For some, Christmas won't be such a magical time - it might even be the loneliest time of the year.
Some parents might also feel guilty that they can't afford the gifts they want to give their children.
With this in mind though, we can still give one of the most important gifts of all this Christmas.
We can give the gift of Gratitude.
At HerParade, we love the idea of gratitude because it is free, it doesn’t cost a dollar. All it requires is just your time and effort. By practicing gratitude, there is also absolutely nothing to lose. You make yourself happier, by helping make others feel happier - which makes you feel great!
Research has proven that gratitude is great for your mental health, and we believe it is also great for your soul.
Below we have put together four ways you can give the gift of gratitude this Christmas:
1. Write meaningful Christmas cards with a message from the heart
Imagine how you would make someone feel by writing a Christmas message to them about how you feel about them and how grateful you are that they are in your life. Research has shown that writing letters of gratitude can have long lasting positive effects on your mental health.
2. Give a thoughtful gift that someone can cherish forever
What’s better than just any gift? Well - one that someone has put some thought and effort into. Giving a thoughtful gift can create beautiful memories that can last a lifetime. This could be giving someone a gift you know would mean a lot to them and help them. It could be a photo collage of unique memories you share, which would be a beautiful reminder of your friendship every day.
3. If you know someone who might not be surrounded by friends and family this year, reach out to them to let them know you are thinking about them - and if you can - invite them to your Christmas celebration!
Doing something nice for someone you care about is a way to express gratitude. Knowing that you changed a person’s day from a day of dread to a day they love is a pretty amazing feeling! Make this person feel comfortable to accept the invite, and do not take ‘no’ for an answer.
4. Donate money to local charity or support local businesses
Helping a charitable cause or local business can help you feel more grateful and in-turn good about yourself!
It is a nice way to practice gratitude collectively, by organising your friends and family members to pool $funds together and donate to a local registered charity or purchase from a local business you know you are directly supporting. Not only are you expressing gratitude, you are getting others involved and teaching the younger generation about giving to others less fortunate or supporting those in need.
Gratitude can really be expressed at any time of the year, not just Christmas. But we think Christmas time is a perfect time to remind ourselves about taking active steps to show and practice gratitude.
Like nearly everything in our lives, being grateful is a decision we need to make and actively work towards.
How will you give the gift of gratitude this Christmas?
Merry Christmas to you and your family. We wish you all the happiness and health over the holiday season.
We hope you create memories you can cherish for years to come.
HerParade team x