Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Season of Kind-Giving

A gratitude challenge from The Conscious Shopper

Around this time last year, I wrote a post on my personal blog called "Thank You, Dear Stranger" about gratitude. I explained that my husband and I were trying to teach our sons that gratitude is meaningless without action. It's useless to feel grateful for someone if you don't tell them, or even better, show them. I concluded: "Wouldn't it be wonderful if the holiday of Thanksgiving were accompanied by a season of kind-giving?"

Well, this year, I've decided to do just that. In the next couple of weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, my family will be making a gratitude tree:


This branch is now the centerpiece on our table, and I'm going to make paper leaves to go with it. Every time we feel grateful for someone, we'll write their name on one of the leaves and hang it on the "tree." On (or around) Thanksgiving, we'll go through the leaves and brainstorm ways we can show gratitude for those people. We'll narrow it down to a reasonable number, and then we'll carry out those acts of service in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Part of the point of my original post was that sometimes we feel grateful for perfect strangers, and the best way to show gratitude for someone we'll never see again is by showing kindness to someone else. Some of the leaves on our tree might be strangers, but we can "serve" them by performing random acts of kindness for others we don't know.

The point is to show gratitude for our blessings by paying it forward with kindness, and to focus our holiday season on giving rather than receiving.

So I'd like to challenge all of you to find some way to focus your attention this month on the many people in your lives that you're grateful for and to think about how you can turn the holiday season into a season of kind-giving.

12 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

I LOVE this idea. So fantastic!

I am inspired- I'll be thinking of a way to adopt this for Andrew and I. :)

Green Bean said...

What a lovely idea! Thank you for sharing it.

Rick Bucich said...

The name of your post caught my eye, we're encouraging something similar at The Gratitude Challenge.

Great idea!

The Raven said...

What a wonderful plan! Thanks so much for telling us about it. Very inspiring.

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

What a great idea! I can't wait to see how the tree grows....

Karen Moser-Booth said...

This is a fabulous idea. I plan to steal it!

Trish said...

awesome! I love this idea.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

@Rick - Fabulous idea. Thanks for sharing it with me!

panamamama said...

Great idea.

PureMothers said...

I love this idea too! I am grateful for bloggers who share their insight and stories with us. They all enrich my life!

Jessica Nichols said...

This is so inspiring! Really motivates me to get the Halloween stuff down by tomorrow and move on to giving thanks.

debra said...

last year a gratitude tree appeared on my mom's thanksgiving table. on every plate was a leaf and a crayon (in a house full of little ones, what else would we use!) before dinner, everyone took a moment to fill out a leaf and hang it on the tree. after the meal had been blessed, the 3 youngest children took turns taking down the leaves and reading aloud what everyone was grateful for. we laughed, there were a few tears and some deep sighs and the leaves were placed in a box to be brought out again this year and added to the tree with the new leaves. it was wonderful and it's certainly a new family tradition.

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