Celebrations: Make them Meaningful and Motivational
Celebrations can be a meaningful and uplifting part of life, so let’s celebrate all year! Creating small celebrations on a regular basis make the larger celebrations easier as the act of celebrating becomes a habitual part of your life. So what should you celebrate, you ask? And how should you celebrate, especially when life holds unexpected challenges?
Celebrating in our family has taken on a special meaning this past year as I have lost both parents. It has become a year of celebration where I am focusing on celebrating not only the great gift of life I have been given, but the upbringing I experienced where I was encouraged pursue excellence along with hard work and generosity. I understand not everyone had that privilege, but it is truly a reason I celebrate. In this article we will focus on four areas of celebration: thankfulness, special days, giving and celebrating intentionally.
Let's Celebrate with Thankfulness
In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving every fourth Thursday in November. Even though this is a day where the emphasis is on thanksgiving, there is more focus on food, preparation and sales than actual thanksgiving. This is a holiday often slighted by blinking Christmas lights, black Friday sales and cyber Monday. The Pilgrims and Indians were not distracted by ads and clearance sales. They were thankful for food and their first harvest in 1621. Today, we have everything those Pilgrims and Indians had, and so much more! Most everyone in our country has access to food, even if homeless and at living at the poverty level.
A thankful spirit takes the focus off of what seems to be going wrong and draws attention to what is going right (See: Mindset of a Grateful Heart) When I’m around a person with an uplifting, grateful attitude, I’m encouraged and inspired. A grateful heart is one of the biggest anecdotes to a victim mentality. It has the power to lift one out of victimhood. If you hang around someone with a martyr attitude, it will drag you down to feel depressed, sucking the energy and life out of you.
If you are feeling depressed, take the time to write one or two small sentences in your journal every day, stating one thing you are thankful for. It can be as simple as the ability to enjoy the outdoors by walking your dog. I’d challenge you to keep this up for ninety days to make it a daily habit. This one act has the power to change your life! Thankfulness is a muscle that should be exercised regularly. Be creative and consistent!
Let's Celebrate Special Days
If you look at most any calendar, there are special days to celebrate that are outside the normal national holidays. National Boss Day, Administrator Professionals Day, Armed Forces Day, Jewish and other religious holidays, the list can be as long as you make it! Our family always made birthday celebrations fun and special as our kids were growing up, though they were simple. We did not rent a large bouncy house or bring in catered food, though there’s nothing wrong with that!
The main point I want to make is that celebrating can be simple and fun. Purchasing a piñata and going to the park for hot dogs and games of tag worked really well with our active sons. I had no mess to clean up at home and the kids had a blast. On another occasion, we went bowling, again serving hot dogs and cupcakes. Our sons kept their memorable bowling pins the bowling alley gave them for years.
My mother-in-law loved to celebrate her birthday, which happened to be July 4. She grew up thinking all birthdays ended with fireworks, especially hers! The mile-wide smile she had on her face each year is a memory that will always stay with me! Celebrate those you love before it’s too late!
Let's Celebrate with Giving
How long has it been since you’ve experienced the joy of giving? The giving of gifts doesn’t need to just occur on major holidays, birthdays or special occasions. There are many other days to give just because.
A card, a flower, a small gift or even a kind email can make someone’s day brighter. What seems small to you can make a huge difference for another person, especially if it is their love language. (Read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman) In our current society of self-sufficiency and empowerment, the small act of giving is often forgotten but has the capacity to make an impact in ways we may not readily see or even realize unless it is communicated. I’d encourage you to be proactive and give with no expectation of reciprocation, even anonymously. A kind word can also make a huge difference in someone’s day.
An added benefit to giving to others is giving to yourself. Small acts of kindness and gifts can bring such joy and fulfillment to the giver. Here in the United States we have so much. We are rich compared to many around the world. When we are long gone from this earth, we can’t bring money or possessions with us, so it’s nice to multiply resources, along with the joy of giving as we give to others while we have the chance!
Let's Celebrate by Being Intentional
I’m often reminded of the quote by Abraham Lincoln, Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. Spontaneity is fun and shouldn’t be ignored, but intentional planning and preparation increase the chance that celebrations will happen with ease. Intentional planning also has the power to boost the fun factor, decreasing chances for stress and conflict!
Intentional planning is a great habit to develop. You can start very small with small little acts and events. In planning celebrations, give yourself some lead time and enjoy the process. I’m writing this article during the Christmas season and as this is a year of celebration for me, I’m taking the time to enjoy the décor of our home and the warmth of relationships we have developed. In fact, we just finished hosting our 16th annual old-fashioned sing-along. We had a blast!
I hope you discover more reasons to celebrate, not only the holidays or a new year, but the everyday occurrences that make life rich and meaningful. Be intentional in celebrating my friend, and your wealth of satisfaction and memories will be long-lasting and joyful.
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