Celebrating Gratefulness

We don’t celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ day here in Australia and I think we should.  The American’s formally celebrate Thanksgiving each year on the third Thursday in November, and have done so since 1941.   American’s may not have all the right answers to the big questions, but I do think they have a great idea in terms of their ‘Thanksgiving’ day.

Imagine if we had a day off to celebrate gratefulness.  How great would that be?  (no pun intended)

We have so many things in our lives to be thankful for, and the older I get – the more I understand how gratifying the simple pleasures really are.  A princess doesn’t need a castle to be happy, she simply needs a place to call home.

If you follow my blog regularly you will know that I recently decided to officially call myself a ‘minimalist’.   Becoming a Minimalist isn’t about having a massive melt down, and chucking out all of your stuff because your sick of the mess.  Its about becoming unattached to your stuff so that you can enjoy the experience of life, and allow yourself to live a fulfilled life.
Benefits of Minimalism

Many years ago when the girls were small I bought them a Vegetales dvd called, ‘Madame Blueberry’.   Its all about the importance of having a thankful heart, because a thankful heart means a happy heart.   Madame Blueberry loves to shop and buys everything she wants, but she lives in a tree house, and its already bursting at the seems. Madame Blueberry is not a happy Blueberry, and she realises her deep sadness one day when she sees a happy young girl with very little.  She wonders how this little girl could be so happy with so little?   Throughout the story, Madame Blueberry has to come to terms with the idea that stuff doesn’t make us happy, but having a thankful heart does.

The marketplace is filled with sensationalised advertising screaming at us that we need all types of stuff.  One of my favourite movies from childhood is the original version of  ‘Charlie and the Chocolate factory’, where Veruka annoyingly whinges to her dad when she wants the golden goose egg, and then through her unwillingness to wait – she starts wrecking the room that they are in, and before we know it, she stands on the egg machine, to which it defines her as a bad egg and she gets dropped down to the garbage area of the plant.   Ungrateful kids are usually kids who have been spoilt rotten.  They are also adults who have never had to work for anything and grow up with an entitlement belief system.  This is something that drives me crazy.  We are determined to stop our kids from growing up into entitled driven adults.

So how does one stop their children from becoming entitled driven adults?

I believe that our children need to work for those things they really want that are too expensive to be gifted.  For example, our 12 year old desperately wants an iPad…not the older one – the new one that has just come out.   Its $550.   Many schools are making iPads compulsory next year, but if my daughter hasn’t worked for it, why should we as parents gift her an iPad that we don’t think she really needs?   Gifting her an iPad means that we have to eventually gift 4 iPads altogether.  Thats a total of $2200?   I know I could do the whole ‘when I was a kid…’ dance, but I feel that my kids should earn their technology.  The side benefit of a child saving up for something they really want, is that they will appreciate the purchase more, and therefore take better care of it.

How to keep with the minimalism ideals throughout the Christmas season?

We have firstly put an absolute spending cap on each person, and for our extended family we do a ‘not-so-secret’ santa present.   This means that everyone knows who they are buying for and who’s buying for them.   The children aren’t included in this list.   The maximum dollar amount per present is $25,  which means the cost of Christmas can be kept to a minimum, and the focus is on spending time with family, rather than the gifts.   Its about people – not things.

I recently saw a brilliant formula for buying Christmas presents for the kids that I thought I would share with you.

The Present Rules-

Isn’t it funny how the things you think about actually make a real impact in our lives.  I have been thinking a lot about how we have the right to live our life to the beat of the drum we set for our family.  We don’t have to live our lives according to the Jones’.  We have to live our best life according to the journey we plan for our family – and it doesn’t matter that some of our jobs don’t get done – as long as we are making progress in our lives.   I think when we realise this – the pressure to be perfect drops off.  No one is perfect, no one has it altogether and everyone is just trying to do their best in their situations.

AND

It’s okay to change our minds and change the course as we go along.

The main area of our lives we need make sure that is in tact is gratefulness.  We need to be grateful for the good things in our lives.  We need to be energised by gratefulness rather than being focused on the negatives.  Lets face it, if we look at the negatives we can find a multitude….but focussing on the good things in our lives actually brings joy and happiness.

I am grateful for life, my husband and children,  the no nappies and no pram phase of our lives, my husband has time off work over the holidays, health,  permanent employment on the Sunshine Coast,  my brothers,  their wives, and the nieces and nephews, my Aunt, Lones, and my whole family, and of course my beautiful friends.

So, I think I have a pretty good life.   I’d love to hear your list of gratefulness.  🙂