Thankfulness Is More Than A Day: 3 Ways to Encourage Thankfulness After the Turkey Is Gone

It's no secret that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Mostly for the food, but also for the sweet childhood memories from years ago, and the new traditions my husband and I are now creating with our girls. I remember when I was young, it seemed like our entire family came out of the woodwork for Thanksgiving, traveling from all over the country to one common spot — usually my grandmother's house — to eat too much, catch up on lost conversations, and enjoy each other's company. 

I was always so, so thankful for Thanksgiving. It felt like a pause before entering a crazy holiday season — like a breath of crisp, Fall air.

But the gratitude didn't last long, as Christmas was only a few weeks away and I had lists to make and presents to dream about. As my extended family members traveled back to their respective homes, my thankfulness seemed to travel away with them as the anticipation of "more" and the routine of daily life set back in. 

Thanksgiving only happens once a year, but what about the other 364 days a year? Simple living is in itself a kind of thanksgiving that can last all year long. Here are three tips for remaining thankful as the rest of the holiday season sets in.

Obviously, for a child, there's nothing wrong with the anticipation of the holidays and excitement over receiving gifts. However, as I grew up and, slowly but surely, adopted a purposefully simpler lifestyle, the premise of celebrating thankfulness for only one day seemed a bit odd. 

Sure, reminders are necessary, and it's great to have one day set aside for being thankful. But what about the other 364 days each year? Are they dedicated to working away, forgetting the many blessings we count on the fourth Thursday of each November? 

To the minimalist, I would argue that thankfulness is a lifestyle, a daily choice. Not merely one day to celebrate. 

Choosing to live with less, to consume responsibly, and to be intentional with the items you bring into your home in itself is a type of thanksgiving. We're taught the value of what we have, the value of the way we spend our time and money, and we choose to use it accordingly. 

At it's core, a minimalist's lifestyle says "I know what is valuable to me, so I'm going to cut out the excess so I can pursue it with everything I have." It is intentionally searching your home and heart for discontent and weeding through why you have those feelings in the first place. It replaces the desire for more with contentment and (when needed) higher quality things.

Even though Thanksgiving lasts only a day (followed by, ironically, the day with the highest consumption of the entire year) fostering an "attitude of thanks" can last all year long if you let it. Here are three easy ways to make sure discontent doesn't sneak back in once your Turkey dinner wears off. 

Choosing to live with less, to consume responsibly, and to be intentional with the items you bring into your home in itself is a type of thanksgiving.

1. Shop With Purpose

If you do choose to shop on Black Friday (there's nothing wrong with waiting for the good deals!) choose stores that produce ethically, when you can. I know that many of the goods Black Friday shoppers look for are things like electronics, home goods, and Christmas gifts, but you'd be surprised at the amount of ethical retailers out there that offer mark downs as well. Obviously, these shopping habits should carry on into the rest of the year, but with Black Friday, and Cyber Monday leading the charge, remember that you, as the consumer, have the power. 

For clothes, check out this list

For home decor and more go here or here.

For info on shopping as ethically as possible for electronics, go here

2. Don't Limit Your Thanks To Things

It's strange how on Thanksgiving, we remember just how much we really have, and seem to forget about it only a few hours later. But our thankfulness shouldn't just be limited to the amount of "stuff" in our homes. Are you healthy? Be thankful for that. Do you have a job that pays you money? Be thankful for that. Do you have a spouse or children or family or friends who care about you? Be thankful for that. 

I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone else, because (as I mention often) I struggle with discontent probably more than the average person. 

3. Keep The Rest of Your Holiday's Simple

As Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, New Year, National Maple Syrup day (it's December 17th. You're welcome.), all approach, remember to keep the same spirit alive that you cultivated on Thanksgiving. However you decide to do (or not do) presents, traditions, and all of the holiday hubbub, keeping it simple will usually translate into make it even more special.

Happy Thanksgiving-week, my friends.

I truly am thankful for each of you.



#30daysoflittlethings Week Three Linkup and Recap

We've almost made it through the whole month, friends! Can you believe Thanksgiving is this week? Evie turns 2 on Friday, Aj's aunt is visiting, my family is coming into town, I have to figure out to be enough of an adult to host Thanksgiving at my house, and plan a birthday party. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose life is about to get crazy in the midst of holiday hubbub- so now, more than ever, I think it is so important to slow down (if only in our minds) enough to be thankful. We can easily miss the little moments and tiny thank you's simply by being too busy- so that is my goal for the next few weeks. Join me? 

Again, this challenge has been so fun for me. I hope you all are loving it too. 

This week I was thankful for:

  • The uniqueness of small towns. Though our town may not have many coffee shops or grocery stores or much else to boast about, for that matter, it does have a few rare gems (like this little "time traveling" phone booth full of books). 
  • The smell of Fall. I made homemade chai using my mom's recipe last night. There are few things that make me happier than smelling ginger, cinnamon and lots of spices all boiling in my kitchen. 
  • Our trip to Monterey is a memory now and I'm grateful for it. 
  • The warmth of our house on freezing cold days is something I hope I never take for granted. 
  • And conversely, sunshine that allows us to get outside. Because NE is bipolar, I swear. 

Now it's your turn: 

Add your links below!

#30daysoflittlethings Week One Recap

One week of our #30daysoflittlethings project down! I've loved seeing all of your photos and can't wait to read everyone's posts! If you're just joining in, you can read the original post here and follow along daily with me on Instagram. Basically, we are all just trying to be grateful for the small things. 

I'm currently in CA with AJ (see what I did there...?) and probably won't be interacting much until Wednesday or Thursday, but PLEASE post your links at the bottom of this post in the link-up. It's oh so easy and will be so encouraging for everyone participating! The link-up will stay open all week, so no pressure to get it up today. 

My little things: 

  • Safe travel. AJ and I haven't flown anywhere together since we met in Latvia, so this is kind of a special adventure. 
  • Moms. My momma is currently watching my sweet girls (and kitten and dog and house) while we are away and I'm so very thankful for her help!
  • Capsule Wardrobes. Seriously, I'm thankful for them. It has made getting ready for this trip a whole heckofalot easier- less focus on the clothes and fitting everything into a suitcase, and more focus on my man. 
  • Age. Another weird thing to be grateful for. BUT. We had a little "Friendsgiving" gathering at my house on Monday and there were women from all walks of life there. I call them all my friends and am amazed at how much we can learn from those who are older, younger, more mature, more adventurous, more experienced....than us. Friends have no age limit. 

Your turn: 

November Project: #30daysoflittlethings

It's November! Can you believe it? 

With the whirlwind that is the holiday season soon approaching, I love the potential that November has to start the craziness off on the right note. While Thanksgiving isn't technically until the end of the month, I'm kind of sold on the idea of celebrating gratitude all month (and hopefully all season) long. 

Enter this project!

I really want to be intentional with being thankful for the little things leading up to Thanksgiving so I thought a good way to keep myself accountable would be to start a little "challenge" (kind of similar to the #simplydisconnect social media challenge I did a few months ago). I posted about it on one of the blogging communities I'm a part of and was so excited that so many awesome bloggers wanted to join me. So, I hope you'll join in too and celebrate a month of intentional gratitude with us!

Here's how it works:

  • For the next 30 days, starting today, be intentional about noticing the small, mundane, everyday things in your life. Changing your mindset from overlooking these things to intentionally noticing them is a huge positive change!
  • Post about the little thing you're grateful for each day on some social platform using the hashtag #30daysoflittlethings. I'll be using Instagram and maybe Facebook occasionally. 
  • If you have a blog, join in our weekly link-up! I will host the link up on my blog and Ludavia from Nifty Betty will co-host it on her blog each Sunday. The link-up will remain open all week, until the next Sunday, giving us a chance to see what everyone has been up to! 
  • If you don't have a blog, stop by and read other people's posts on Sunday and engage! People who take the time to comment on blogs are one of the "little things" I'm super thankful for ;) 
  • More than anything, this project starts in the heart. While the networking and community of others posting is awesome and encouraging, I ultimately want people to notice a change in the way they are thankful- so if that means not posting on social media, or tweaking the challenge to fit your schedule, DO IT!

I can't wait to see what this month brings and to get a peek into the little things in your lives that you're thankful for!

*Note- next Sunday I will be in California with AJ (eeeeeee!! I'm a little excited) and though I'll still host the link-up on my blog, I won't be as active on social media (except for my daily post) until we get back*