25 Christmas Gifts I’m Thankful For This Year
Today, I am sharing 25 Christmas gifts that I am thankful for this year!
During the rush of the Christmas season, it can be easy to lose sight of all of the gifts that one has already received, which one can be thankful for. Today, I am going to share 25 Christmas gifts that I am thankful for.
While others are shopping and posting photos of gifts wrapped under a tree, it can be easy to feel like you are lacking when financially you’re struggling and/or barely getting by.
When others are sharing new memories spent with family, friends, and loved ones, it can be easy to compare and feel alone while processing grief as you mourn the loss of a loved one. All of a sudden a season that brought happiness and laughter reminds you of [sometimes hidden] pain. For you, Christmas may now just seem like any other ordinary day.
As I sit and write this, I think of childhood, Christmas memories. What I remember of Christmas includes cold, wintery, snowy Michigan days – frostbite, decorations, and all of my Mom’s delicious holiday baking. Russian tea cakes (click for recipe) galore and so, so many gifts! I think of all that my parents sacrificed to give us what we wished for.
Now, in my mid-thirties, I sit here by the sea. Sand covering my body, wave after wave, I see. As an expat in Grand Cayman, Christmas is now different for me, and it is also different for my husband (also from Michigan) and our two island-born and raised children, Jack and Kaitlyn, whose “snow” is the fluffy white sand by this beautiful, Caribbean Sea. Their memories will be different than the memories of you and me, but as I sit here and think, I think about what gifts mean the most. What matters most to me?
As the Grinch who stole Christmas (my favorite Christmas movie as a child) once said, “Maybe Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”
In looking back on my journey, I must say, that the greatest gift I have received is not a gift that comes along only on one day, but it is a gift that keeps giving each and every single moment of every single day. This gift, which I practice has helped me see light through the darkness. This gift that I speak of is gratitude.
So, as I sit here and think of all that I already have to be thankful for, my soul fills with a sense of peace. I hope in sharing this list that you too, will feel a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding and that Christmas and every day thereafter will no longer be seen as a day of lack, or loss, or overwhelming pain – that even in really painful days and seasons of life you will be able to look at your own list and know that your gift of life is not just “another day”.
Here’s my list of 25 Christmas Gifts that I am thankful for this year:
1. Growing up with two hardworking parents who sacrificed for me and my two brothers growing up.
2. My Mom’s time and effort decorating Griswold-style back on my childhood street of Star Valley Drive.
3. Memories of my Dad dressed as jolly St. Nick.
4. Hearing Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (click to listen) at my grandparents’ house. It still makes me smile to think of my Grandma singing that song!
5. The memory of my Grandma laughing so hard that she spit her green grasshopper drink (click for recipe) across her kitchen table.
6. Ice skating with my cousin, Johnny, in my grandparents’ backyard on their frozen skating pond. So much fun!
7. Always having food on the table and a dog under the table to help me finish my food. Had it not been for that dog, I’d be still sitting at this table ’til this day until my food was all gone.
8. My education and opportunities to learn.
9. My innate giftedness, especially my abilities to empathize with and encourage others.
10. The fact that I truly do care about the wellbeing and happiness of others.
11. Wise mentors who have given me their time to help guide me on my way.
12. My drive to succeed even if it means that I’ve had to make my own way. There have been many times when others have not believed in me. This has not stopped me.
13. My, now deceased, Dad who taught me the value of integrity. Honesty has continued to serve me well.
14. Intolerance for abuse, which ignites my voice.
15. My ability to stand up to wrongdoing, despite the fact that doing so has nearly got me killed in the past.
16. Surviving my near-fatal accident and being given a second chance at life.
17. Learning to stay committed instead of quitting.
18. Stepping over fear and finding the courage to begin a journey of healing.
19. Moving out of my comfort zone and facing my weaknesses.
20. My roots in Michigan and all of the lessons learned there.
21. Moving out of the country with my husband (who I initially met on Match.com), the baby growing inside of me at the time (my now 4-year-old son, Jack), our four cats, and 12 boxes.
22. Expat life here in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and all of the lessons learned here.
23. Two amazing, beautiful, healthy children that motivate me to truly keep living.
24. My journey of healing (click to learn more), which has allowed me to move forward despite deaths of loved ones, the loss of who I once was, and continuous struggles, including daily chronic pain, PTSD, financial hardship, and questions about the future.
25. My faith in Christ, for me the true meaning of this season, which has saved me, time and time again in many, many ways.
I hope in reading my list that you have been gifted an opportunity to reflect and that you will take this opportunity to write out your own list of 25 Christmas gifts that you have to be thankful for this year.
If interested, then I’d love for you to share your list with me, too!
Until next time…
Thank you for joining me here today. If this has served you well, then please let me now by liking, sharing, and/or commenting, so others can be given this opportunity, too. I’d also like to welcome you to journey a little deeper with me through my online keynote video, Journey To A Better You!