Wow, time is flying by.
It’s just a few weeks away, but it’s going to be the holiday season soon enough! Once Halloween happened, all the other holidays began to slowly creep up. Before we know it, every other holiday will snowball, one after the other. And I ask you, are we prepared for what’s to come?
Are we prepared to see our families?
To have conversations we may have been avoiding?
Are we prepared to possibly open up old wounds?
To allow ourselves the opportunity to mend broken relationships or rekindle ones that fell apart?
Are we prepared to think of others before ourselves?
Whether it’s for gift giving or words of affirmation?
Are we prepared to show our gratitude and love to those who have it?
Do we have the courage to do so?
Are we prepared to be vulnerable and honest, two human superpowers that people are afraid to harness because of the feelings they bring up in our bodies?
What’s the harm that can come from it?
As you can tell, this isn’t going to be your typical “Thanks Before Thanksgiving” type of of list.
During this time, California is going through one of its worst fires in history, with many people losing their homes, being burned alive in their vehicles, and starving out of fear which causes them to forget to nourish themselves. People have lost material items, family members and loved ones, and other assets that we, ourselves, have taken for granted.
I want this time of year to be a time of reflection for being grateful of what you have, who you have, and what life continues to provide for you.
Now, I know not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, since it is a holiday celebrated in specific countries. And I also recognize that some people do not like the idea of Thanksgiving because of the deeply rooted hxstory associated with it. Objectively, people see Thanksgiving as a time of celebrating all the food they are going to eat, alcohol that will be available, and Black Friday shopping that people will rave about. However, I want to remind you to be grateful for what you have, inform you of how you can show thanks before the Thanksgiving holiday and provide some alternatives to old habits you may practice.
Avoid the crowd of Black Friday Shopping – Plan an excursion out to nature instead.
By planning out an excursion to nature instead of the shopping mall, you can give thanks to the planet and honour its beauty, not contribute to hyper consumerism in Western culture, and spend time with someone (or people) you love. I personally practice low impact living and do my best to not purchase things I do not need, when I already have abundance in the items I do possess. Though I may end up purchasing something if I absolutely need it, I am not intentionally going out of my way to participate in the Black Friday sales shopping.
Be open to listen to their dreams, their hopes, and what they value.
Being open to listen to others, especially in an active manner, is a skill that not many have. If you take the time to hit up someone you haven’t heard from in awhile, and you genuinely are wondering how they are doing, ask them what lights up their world.
What are they wishing to get out of this one life they have?
Who and what are they thankful for?
You can learn something new about these people, whether they are close to you or not, and it can an experience to cherish for a lifetime. Who knows what will happen until you try?
Tell the people that you love, that you love them.
Life is precious, as the cliche saying goes. You never know when will be the last time you tell someone that you love them. It’s so important to get a message like that across to the right people, because they may already know… but hearing it come from you will mean so much to them. And if they don’t already know? Then it’s better to tell them now and not regret it later.
In addition, listen to people if they are struggling, hurting or feeling alone.
A good way to show thanks or appreciation for a person is to offer your ears to listen and your heart to feel for them. There’s this concept called Seasonal Depression that many people experience, due to the holidays actually being a lonely time for them. Whether they have a dysfunctional family, had a recent loss in their life, or feel broken in one way or another, offering to listen to someone and provide them comfort in any way possible can be one of the greatest gifts you can give during the holiday season.
To combine the previous two tips, thank someone who helped you during a time of struggle and reaffirm them for their contribution to your well being.
It’s not just you – I struggle too. We all do.
And during times we struggle, there is bound to be at least one person who helped you get through the rut you were in. Thank them. Reconnect if it’s been years since you’ve talked. Let them know that you appreciate what they’ve done in your life and that you are grateful to have had them by your side.
Offer to cook a different meal for Thanksgiving, Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate!
Lighten the load off your parents (or whomever in your household cooks). This is your time to experiment with new dishes and show off those cooking skills of yours, mediocre or not! For families that eat the same thing every year, offer to bring something new to the table.
If you’re vegan, cook a vegan version of a dish your family loves.
If there’s always a pumpkin pie for dessert, try baking something new with apples, cranberries, or other fall/winter fruits in season.
Last year, I made stuffed mushrooms with my partner for Thanksgiving and though my grandparents were a bit hesitant to eat it (since they’re so used to traditional Filipino dishes), my mom went straight in to support me in my efforts of cooking. That was a start for me in doing something new for the holidays, a step outside of my comfort zone.
Donate to your charity of choice.
For you list lovers out there, I will give you a list of different options for donating that you can participate in this holiday season.
❀ Giving Tuesday : Giving Tuesday is the following Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Most non profits and organizations will reach out to their mailing list and donor base to see if you can give a big donation/gift for the holiday spirit.
❀ Amazon Smile : You can also use smile.amazon.com to do your Christmas shopping this year! On your profile, you can choose a charity of your choice to donate a small percentage of your purchase to.
❀ California Wildfires : Like I mentioned earlier in this post, because of the California fires, air quality has been terrible, people have lost their homes, and lives have been taken away. Emergency health aid organizations such as The Red Cross, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, and the California Fire Foundation are just a few to name. Please note that if you donate to Red Cross, it’s effective to research where to donate the money so it goes DIRECTLY to the fire victims, rather than the collective fund for all natural disaster relief. Another tip is to google search specific gofundme pages for fire victims, as you can ensure that money will go straight to the person or family requesting aid.
source: @otsctrojans on instagram
Volunteer at your local food bank or help give a meal to someone in need.
Thanksgiving is a time where we gather with our families and have a plentiful amount of food. If you can, research local food banks near you and offer to help serve meals on Thanksgiving Day, donate food to their organization, or help volunteer to help them with whatever else they may need. You’re in a position to help others – why not do something about it? (of course, if it’s within your capacity).
Create a passion project that integrates into the holiday spirit.
Lastly, I wanted to bring up this option as a #shamelessplug for a passion project I have implemented called: Love Notes for the Holiday Season
I have been blogging for a good chunk of 2018, on and off, and I have found that people read what I write and care. People can connect with me, and I feel their energy and love. I wanted to extend this project to whoever stumbles upon it, via social media or the internet in general. To whoever needs that gentle reminder, that boost of creative juices, and the support of me cheering them on, I’m here.
So that’s my passion project — do you have an idea that can mesh well with the holiday season?
If you’re a blogger or influencer, there are giveaways, discounts for products you’ve created, or personalized shout outs or emails you can send to your supporters.
If you’re a business owner, there are discounts and promo codes for the holidays that you can give out, if you’re feeling generous.
If you’re just a reader of my blog, a friend of mine, or even a family member, you can write a letter to someone you love and care about. You can gift them something intentional and useful. You can share an experience they’ve been wanting for awhile.
The options are endless, and gratitude is plentiful. Go out there and give as much thanks before the Thanksgiving holiday, my dears. Let me know down in the comments if you found this list useful or inspiring! And tell me if you decide to do any of these as well.