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Something I have noticed in life is that nothing can turn a bad attitude or a feeling of want around like gratitude.

Because you know what? There will always be something going wrong, something we want, something we think we need, or something we wish we had. In fact, if one focuses on what’s MISSING there is really no end to the things to be upset about. No matter how much you have, it will never be enough.

Gratitude is just the opposite. There is always something to be thankful for, and often once I start listing my things off they quickly outnumber the “missing” stuff.

Another bonus, when I focus on what I am thankful for it’s almost impossible to feel unhappy or upset, either.  It switches the glass from half empty to half full, or even runneth over, just like that.

In this season of “gimmie gimmie” gratitude is like a breath of fresh air. I don’t need a Lexus with a red bow on top to make Christmas complete (I actually would not even want that, but the commercials every year make me wonder, does anyone actually do that, and if so do they give the car along with four years of car payments, or how would that work?)

I have always worked to instill gratitude in my kids, as well. And a few years ago during a particularly lean holiday season, I was so proud of them when they happily embraced the few gifts I was able to afford that year, never even noticing or asking for more.

One thing our holidays were rich with that year (and ever since) were experiences — decorating the tree, making gingerbread houses, enjoying candy canes, looking at holiday light displays, telling holiday tales, watching Christmas movies, making crafts to give as gifts, baking cookies, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows, cuddling up in blankets on the couch, admiring the tree. These things don’t cost much but will be remembered long after the latest “it” toy loses its luster.

In the end material things are just that — things. But relationships, family, friends, health,  community, health, Grace, memories and all those other things no amount of money can buy are the true treasures in life. Cherish them, and may your heart be filled to bursting!

Merry Christmas!