Expressing Gratitude This Holiday Season

Aside from October, December is my son’s favorite month of the year. I think you know why. Their birth months and December are the most exciting times for children. They may be the most expensive times for parents but if you’re like me, they’re also the only times when children are allowed to ask for bigger items. December can even be much costlier. If you have young children, you’ll know that they still expect a gift from Santa. That’s one from the jolly old man in the red suit and one from the parents. I’m giving my son three more years before I break the news about Santa.

Experience tells us that children don’t just get two gifts. If you come from a large extended family or if your children have a bunch of close friends in school, chances are your children will also get presents from grandparents, uncles or aunts, and friends. That’s a whole lot of gifts!

But then the days after the holidays – once all these gifts have been opened and played with, all the treats eaten – can feel like a big letdown. I compare it to a sugar rush – which experts say is actually a myth but you know what I mean. You get the ultimate high one minute but crash the next hour or so.  That’s how holidays can feel especially when they’re over and it’s back to the daily grind of school or work.

But is it possible to flip that script? Can we encourage our children to stop thinking “what have we got to look forward to now?”, start concentrating on everything they’ve just enjoyed and be grateful?

There’s a YouTube channel called the SoulPancake and they create entertaining, joyful, and inspiring videos related to the human experience. One of these is The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude. The video talks about how happiness can be achieved with the simple act of expressing one’s gratitude.

I tried to give this a try the minute I saw this video last 2013 to my Dad no less, who at that time was recuperating from a heart attack and was a bit depressed. I told him about the video and thought I’d thank him since he was the most influential person in my life. I won’t go into the specifics but I told him everything I’ve always wanted to. His response was to put on his shades – typical of a Baby Boomer Gen father but I knew he was touched. Two weeks after that, my Dad died.

This taught me that expressing gratitude is extremely important. We feel thankful to a lot of people but how often do we let them know about how we feel? Not as much as we want to probably. And this leads me to the main goal of this article. Expressing gratitude is both a skill and an attitude that I want to instill in my son. And when better to start than this coming holiday season?

Saying thank you when someone gives you a present is one of the simplest and most basic ways to help develop a spirit of thankfulness in children. And now that my son’s in first grade, it’s time for him to express gratitude in a written form. Yes, I am still a believer in the power of a good old-fashioned thank you note!

I can imagine that staring at a blank notecard can be fairly intimidating though, especially for the reluctant writer. So I’ve come up with a few printables that will help younger children say thank you without the battle of writing a long thank you note.

Holiday Thank You Notes_Page_2

These fill-in-the-blank thank you notes give kids a starting point. They simply add the recipient’s name(s), what they’re saying thank you for, why they like the gift, and their own name. Hopefully this makes saying thank you a fun task!

I’m a proud Ilonggo and so I’ve included a design with the Hiligaynon phrase for thank you. There’s also another design that has “Salamat!” which friends and relatives who speak Filipino and Hiligaynon can use. Unfortunately, the templates still have the usual fill-in-the-blanks English sentences. But if you’re really bent on letting your child learn the home language, you can use the blank ones.

Holiday Thank You Notes_Page_3

I hope you have fun with these Printables by Jan freebie!

Download the Holiday Thank You Notes here.



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