Increase Your Gratitude this Christmas

This week, I wanted to share a couple of ideas that can help you to increase your gratitude this Christmas—and all year long. Let’s start with an easy way to get your family focused on their blessings.

Make a Memory Ornament for your Christmas tree.

We’ve done this for several years. Sometimes, I forget about it until the last minute and grab an ornament off of the tree and a Sharpie Marker. That’s one of the things I love about this activity. Rather than needing to do a lot of preparation, the activity itself is preparing your heart.

You need 2 items:

  • A permanent marker or paint pen (preferably a fine-point)
  • Some type of Christmas ornament that has enough surface that you can write on it. Plain glass or plastic work the best.

Gather your family together. This works well on Christmas Eve. Turn off any distractions such as electronics or TV.  Ask each family member what their favorite memory was from the year. Then, write each one down in only a few words, on the ornament. Also, add the year. This will definitely help to remind your family of their blessings, which is sure to increase your gratitude.  It’s also a lot of fun to read the memories years later as you decorate your tree.

increase your gratitude
Image via Wikipedia Commons by Witia

Increase your gratitude by filling a jar.

I saw this on Pinterest a few years back. It was a lot of fun from beginning to end.

Get a jar, any jar, mason or cookie, it doesn’t matter. It’s what you put into it that matters. Keep a small tablet of paper next to the jar.

Then let your family know the following:

Whenever someone is thankful for something, they should write it down along with their name and the date. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of asking each evening what happened that day that they’re grateful for.

I added another aspect to this. As the jar filled up, I typed everything up in a word document, arranged in order of the date. To do that, follow these steps:

  • Type the date in numeric form before each entry, for example, 5/06/2008. This will enable you to sort your gratitude list from the beginning of the year to the end.
  • Select your text in a bulleted or numbered list.
  • On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click “Sort.” This is the symbol with an A over a Z, next to a downward pointing arrow.
  • A “Sort Text” dialog box will open up. Under “Sort by”, click “Paragraphs” and “Text,” in the drop-down fields. Then, click either “Ascending” or “Descending.”

When you’re done, you can put your list in a 3 ring binder.  Now, comes the fun part. On December 31st, celebrate the blessings of the year by reading your family’s list. You will all enjoy recalling the memories of the year before you enter a new one. This is a great way of focusing on the positive things in your life and is sure to increase your gratitude no matter what circumstances your family is in.

A Change of Perspective

Sometimes, life can really throw you some curveballs. My family knows about this as much as anyone. Still, we have never been at a loss for things to thank God for. Having an attitude of gratitude will make your life and the lives of your family so much better. It doesn’t change your situation, but it does change your perspective.

Buy The Memory Maker’s Journal for someone you love this Christmas. It comes in 5 different covers, ideal for anyone with memories to share.


About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since my husband, Dan was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness.

My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone who Has Cancer, is available on