It’s that time of year when millions of people are getting ready to gather with loved ones for the holidays. They will be planning parties and buying presents as the Christmas season gears up, and hopefully trading recipes and making delicious meals for all to share.
This time of year always makes me reflective. With the passage of Thanksgiving (aka Native American reflection) and the anticipation of Christmas, when I gather with my parents and extended family, I am always reflective as to the many blessings in my life. I am always curious this time of year when speaking to friends and students as to what exactly they are thankful for.
I know this year, I am especially grateful for my health. As we know, COVID-19 is still here, still very real, and still causing thousands of deaths each month. We also know so many people are still struggling with the effects of long-term COVID. I have been lucky enough to get older, and each morning when I awaken with new sounds and pops from bones creaking, I am definitely thankful for the gift of getting older.
Every year at Thanksgiving we go around the table and state what we are thankful for. I am always filled with a sense of gratitude as I think of my family and friends who have gathered to be with me for the holidays and the delicious food that stays flowing. We usually acknowledge that we are all thankful for the ability to travel and come together to play cards, eat amazing food, laugh, and so much more.
So, what are you thankful for this year? No matter how big or small, there are so many things to be thankful for. Whenever I am overwhelmed and fail to easily see the millions of items around me that I should be thankful for, I simply dust off my gratitude journal. I usually try to write in my gratitude journal for a month straight. I list 15 items each morning that I am grateful for, everything ranging from the sound of the birds singing to the ability to breathe in clean air. I like to begin my morning listing what I am grateful for so it serves as a grounding force as I go through my day.
Some of my friends like to write in their gratitude journal in the evenings before they go to bed. For them, a gratitude journal is a great way to close out the day and reflect on all of the beauty and blessings that surround them. Whether you like to write in the morning or evening, it is a great exercise to help put things in perspective
This holiday season, remember all the blessings surrounding you and spread that love and energy to others.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and host of The Blackest Questions podcast at TheGrio.