Joy & Gratitude

How To Turn Your Holidays Into a Season of Gratefulness

Doug Bender

November 23, 2022 | 2 minute read

You’ve probably already noticed your favorite brands restocking for the Christmas season and announcing their seasonal sales. And your family group text is likely already dinging with holiday scheduling questions. But before all the hubbub of the season really gets rolling, take a moment to contemplate the attitude of gratefulness with us.

No matter how well you manage your calendar or stress resulting from pressures of competing responsibilities, this joyous season can easily turn into a headache. But having a plan for instilling a sense of grateful appreciation into your daily routine can make all the difference. Gratefulness is an attitude on life that lets you see the good things in the midst of what may be overwhelming. 

Here are some simple and practical steps I’ll be taking this season to center myself on gratefulness rather than stress:

A Breath of Fresh Air

It might be a cliche but the saying derives from a surprisingly helpful stress-relieving activity. When the house is full of noise and the chores of life feel overwhelming, simply stepping outside can really reset your attitude. There is something about catching a lung-full of nature that helps us appreciate the beauty that God has given us. Nothing else might be going to plan, but the sun still rises, the wind still blows and the earth still turns. 

A Thankfulness Journal

My wife did this last year and it shifted the attitude of the whole house. She hung a piece of paper on the wall in the bathroom and added a new line to it each day. She would list one simple thing that she was grateful for. She was grateful for a car that worked, a cup of coffee, a sunrise. It was a list of simple things. But noticing the simple things that make life better gives less mental space to the things that make life stressful. 

A Thankful Prayer

It’s easy to get into the habit of throwing up a quick prayer when you need something, but it can actually be even more helpful to get into the practice of a quick “thank you” prayer. “Thank you for another day,” when you wake up in the morning. “Thank you for my clothes,” as you get dressed. “Thank you for loved ones,” as you think of family and friends. These quick prayers of thankfulness can go a long way to centering your attitude on gratefulness rather than stress. 

A Happy Text

A friend of mine occasionally will send a random “Happy New Year” text to anyone who needs some joy. She does this because on an iPhone when you text these words the receiver of this text will get a screenful of fireworks. It makes me smile every time I see it. I now try to pass on the joy to others. I’ll send “I appreciate you” or “I’m glad we’re friends” to people I haven't seen or talked to in a while. Such texts make me appreciate the many friends God has given to me over the years even if I can’t always find the time to see them as I would like. You might find a random happy text to a friend that can do the same for you.

On that note, I am grateful for YOU. Even if we don’t know each other personally, I am grateful that somewhere out there in cyberspace there is a community of people who are trying to put Jesus first in their lives. You encourage me and for that I am thankful. 

What are you going to do this season to practice gratitude? We'd love to hear your ideas on our Community dashboard or on social media.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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