Love in the Letterbox

If you ever doubt your pathOr who you chose to be.Know that I am gratefulFor who you are to me.
How do you let people know you are grateful?

When I was a kid, I was a pretty good chess player. Between about the ages of ten and twelve I travelled a fair bit to play in tournaments. I got to go to some fairly spectacular parts of the world.

These are perhaps tales for another day. Right now the chess and the travel aren’t the point.

Often when I was travelling, I would be without my mum. To ensure I knew she was with me in spirit, she would give me little notes printed on cards with inspirational quotes, pictures, and messages like “I’m on your side.”

My pockets were always stuffed full of them.

Somehow if I looked at them, or held them, or even gave them a little kiss, it was like she was there with me.

i don't see you all that muchour lives are far apart.but you are often in my thoughtsand always in my heart.
Christmas cards are a lovely way of letting someone know you care.

I think Christmas cards can have a similar power. Lots of people have stopped sending Christmas cards for all sorts of reasons. But I think it’s nice to have that little gesture just to say that I’m thinking of you enough to have actually put your name on this and sent it; even if there is not much in the way of an actual letter inside.

The end of every school dayDoes not mean that you are through.When the chil
Do people still write thank you cards to teachers? I hope so!

Thank you cards are another disappearing pleasure. Again, it’s just knowing that someone was touched enough by what you did for them that they wanted to actually send you something to say thank you.

Perhaps I’m being old-fashioned and ridiculous, but what I want is to recapture that feeling of having something physical to hold onto that says that someone is with you even when they’re far away.

So I’ve been designing little postcards to do just that. I’ve saved them as pdfs so they are downloadable cards that you can print for yourself if you want to use them. I’m going to keep adding more and I’ll put them on a separate page – maybe a Christmas Corner or a Gift Corner where I’ll also put recommendations for gifts.

Far apart

Who you are to me

You helped me to grow

Flamingo

Happy New Year – gratitude card

Christmas cheer gratitude card

Gratitude card – seasons greetings

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you think that there’s something special about receiving a bit of love in the letterbox, or are just as happy to see something new in your inbox?

 

A Bit Of Everything
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7 tips for teaching gratitude at Christmas

It’s official. The marketers of Christmas have taken October. My two year old has already asked for our Christmas tree to be put up. Multiple times. Every time we go to the shops there seems to be more and more Christmas stuff.

I’d like this not to be a thing. But since it is a thing, I’ve been thinking about how to use this whole ridiculously long festive build up as a chance to teach gratitude rather than gluttony.

7. Notes in your Advent calendar

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You know Advent calendars? You take a little chocolate out for every day of Advent as you count down the four weeks leading up to Christmas. We’ve got a wooden one so we can fill it ourselves and avoid the supermarket variety, which seem to become ever tackier. My husband loves it and has suggested we keep it out year round to count down to other things. Birthdays. The new Game of Thrones season. The start of Advent.

I’m probably not going to keep it out all year, but I am happy to prolong its time on the wall for this one. During Advent as you take something out, put a little note with a word about what you were grateful for today. Maybe it was sunshine, or friends, or dinner. Then use the days following Christmas to open each of the windows again and rediscover those moments of gratitude.

6. Donate to a wishing tree

Lots of stores set up trees that you leave presents under for children who would otherwise miss out at Christmas. Talk to your children about this. Let them choose something that they would like to receive themselves and gift it to someone else. Talk about how that child might feel opening the present. Talk about how your child feels giving the gift. Let your child explore the spirit of giving.

If you have time, you might also like to do some volunteering as a family. Lots of services need extra help around the Christmas season.

5. Make gifts, cards, and wrapping paper

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As much as possible, encourage your children to make their gifts, cards, and wrapping paper. Show them that you don’t have to buy everything, and sometimes the most special gifts are those that are homemade with love.

4. Write thank you notes

If your children receive presents from other family or friends, a nice idea is to save the wrapping paper with a note as to who it was from. Then your children can use the paper later to write thank you notes. Re-using the paper, a craft activity, encouraging gratitude, thanking someone for a gift – so many wins.

3. Learn to say no

If you get your children everything on their wish lists, odds are they will be less grateful than if you just get them one or two thoughtful gifts. It’s better to have something that will be treasured and played with (or, better still, read!), than a roomful of toys that are unwrapped and forgotten.

2. Nurture traditions that don’t revolve around presents

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This should really go without saying, but sometimes children (and their parents) can get caught up on the materialistic side of the season.

If you are a Christian, you might want to find a family service to attend to listen to the story of Christmas, or find a local carols event.

Spend time with family and friends. Try to make these events joyful and stress-free. Make them times that your children will cherish.

Think of other little things that you can do to build your own traditions. Maybe you spend a day decorating a tree, or watch a particular movie together, or go for a drive to see some Christmas lights. We always read Twas The Night Before Christmas together on Christmas Eve.

Whatever you choose, try to keep the focus and excitement around these things.

1. Model gratitude

If you find yourself complaining about the socks your partner got you, or the fact that you have to spend Christmas day with all the extended family, or that you have to make a big Christmas lunch – stop. Not only are you making your own life miserable, but you are modelling that for your children.

Be grateful that someone has thought of you, that you have people to spend time with, that you have food to cook. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to make Christmas special for someone else. And you might just find that you make it special for yourself too.

 What would you add? Do you find it hard to live gratitude at Christmas? Do you hate me for writing a Christmas post in October?


Happy Mama Happy Baby
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