“It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.” – Anonymous
However you celebrated or did not celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday, or just a nice Thursday. It was my second Thanksgiving out of the country; last year I cooked a huge meal (Greek style), but this year I said screw it. Even though I missed out on the classic meal – and I really did miss my stuffing, macaroni and cheese and corn soufflé – I still was able to Skype my family and most importantly, spend extra time in gratitude. That’s what the whole holiday is for, right? Giving thanks.
Unfortunately, for many Thanksgiving has turned into a holiday for getting good discounts and fighting other people for them. We call it Black Friday, which seems to start earlier each year. It’s the kick-off for the greatest consumer holiday of the year, Christmas. It’s not just in the states, either; other countries around Europe and who knows where else have also adopted Black Friday. I was shocked to see Black Friday sale signs around Greece.
My younger brother shared some interesting numbers and facts about Black Friday. (He has a really informative and useful Instragram: things_ive_learned_today.) The stats are from 2011, so I can only imagine how the numbers have grown in the past five years…
226 million people shopped on Black Friday while only 122 million people voted in the 2008 presidential elections. $52 billion was spent in the US on Black Friday weekend while 117 countries around the world have a lower GDP (gross domestic product) than that amount. The combined GDP of Nicaragua, Jamaica, Afghanistan and Iceland is less than the amount spent on Black Friday weekend. Lastly, most shocking of all, the money spent on Black Friday weekend would also feed all the hungry children in the world for 2 years. (Read that sentence again… This is the world we live in.)
The name Black Friday is fitting. There is no light in the darkness, no good in evil. Of course I’m not saying that if you shopped on Black Friday you are evil or that having and spending money is evil. I believe there is a karmic flow of money and that you have to give some to get some. My point is that our priorities can get all sorts mixed up, especially around the holiday season and even more so if we let the media, consciously or subconsciously, guide our decisions.
The holiday season is a time of giving love, not spending money. Sure, buying a gift for someone is one way to give, and if it’s done in a loving way and, more importantly and obviously, a sane, safe and respectful-to-others way, then it can be really thoughtful. But, you can also give in many other ways. You have a heart, a brain and two hands (maybe). Use them.
What are you thankful for today? Do you have a daily gratitude practice? What does it look like? A gratitude practice is simple and can be done in so many ways. I like to write down or verbalize 3 things I am grateful when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night as well taking a moment in gratitude before I eat. I encourage you to find a way of giving thanks that works for you and makes you feel full of gratitude and joy. It’s a simple but powerful practice – if you don’t feel grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you will be happy with more? Not that happiness even comes from the things we have; it comes from within.
I’m grateful for all of you (even if that’s just you, mom!) who take the time out of your busy lives or Facebook scrolling to read my blog. I love writing and sharing with you and being able to connect with you is an even greater joy. Please feel free to share your gratitude practice or anything else that’s on your heart or mind in the reply box below. If you need any extra support in your life from a Holistic Health Coach, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending you love + support on your journey,