25 Days of Gratitude

Who can distinguish giver and receiver in the final kiss of gratitude?

Brother David Steindl Rast

A couple of years ago, I began the tradition of noting what I’m grateful for each day during the month of December. Since then, I’ve tried to make a more regular habit of my gratitude practice, incorporating it into my daily life and weekly reflections. Numerous studies have documented the benefits of paying closer attention to what we’re thankful for (and not just during the holiday season!) This month, I invite you to join me by tracking what you’re grateful for each day. It needn’t be anything elaborate — in fact, it’s often the simplest moments that can bring us the most joy. When we seek ways to show our appreciation, we find them. Invite your family and friends to join you and use it as an opportunity to share the bounty of blessings you encounter. Perhaps you want to take it a step further and spread the ripples of joy by challenging yourself to do a random act of kindness each day or gift your time and talents to those you love. Whatever fills your heart to the brim this holiday season, find time to soak it in and share it. Here are some more ideas to get your gratitude juices flowing!

• Start a gratitude jar. Write down something you’re grateful for each day on a small slip of paper, fold it up, and stick it in your jar. When the jar is full, empty it out and remind yourself of all the reasons you have to be thankful. (This is a great project for the New Year!)

• Take a snapshot of what you’re grateful for each day.

• Write a letter to someone who’s inspired you and tell them how they’ve shaped your life.

• Say thank you to someone whose invisible efforts often go unnoticed.

• Reflect on 5 things you’re grateful for each day, 4 things you’re grateful for each week, 3 things you’re grateful for each month, 2 things you’re grateful for this past year, and 1 thing you’re grateful for right now.

Day 1: Cozy comforters on cool mornings

Day 2: Waking up to warm cobbler

Day 3: Bright melodies

Day 4: Inner stillness

Day 5: Bursts of inspiration

Day 6: Pastel skies peeking through the windows

Day 7: Giving hearts

Day 8: Company of friends and neighbors

Day 9: Meals made from scratch

Day 10: Mailbox cheer

Day 11: Starry skies

Day 12: New walking paths with 4-legged companions

Day 13: Faraway friends

Day 14: The scent of homemade soup simmering on the stove

Day 15: Lemon ginger tea with honey

Day 16: A strong and able body

Day 17: Thoughtful gestures

Day 18: Familiar spaces

Day 19: Fresh-squeezed orange juice

Day 20: Sitting down with a new page-turner

Day 21: Inspiring stories

Day 22: Morning meditations

Day 23: Kind strangers

Day 24: Old routines and new traditions

Day 25: Simple comforts