From a good friend, to me and to you . . .

        The familiar song says: “That’s what friends are for”. but today, I’ve changed the words to; “This is what friends are for” and I mean it. Only the words of this intro are mine. All the rest came from that Friend. And I say ‘Thank You’.

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        The Holiday Season, when we’re sharing special time with loved ones and bringing the year to a close, is a Perfect time to recall the many things we have to be thankful for. This holiday season take time to lift your spirits and make the season more meaningful and joyful by giving thanks — individually and with family and friends — for the things that have made your lives better.

Here are Ten Ideas for Happy Holidays, and a life.

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Each day of the holiday season write down at least three things you are grateful for. Anything counts, a promotion, your baby’s first steps, a walk outside on a beautiful day, hug from a loved one, or a long ago Teacher who spoke words that changed your life.

2. Make a Gratitude Jar. Create a family project where everyone writes things they are thankful for on slips of paper. Place those notes in a jar to be read when the family is gathered around the table or tree.

3. Create a Gratitude Tree. Draw a tree trunk and branches on a sheet of paper. Using colored paper (you can use colors that reflect the holidays that your family celebrates or seasonal colors) cut out leaves for the tree. Have each person write something he or she is grateful for on a leaf and glue it to the tree. Give it a place of honor for the holidays.

4. Gather and give thanks. When your family is gathered for the holiday meal, go around the table and have each person say a few things that he or she has been thankful for during the past year. End with a toast giving thanks for all those things and each other.

5. Give to others. As a family, learn about different charitable organizations and efforts. Together choose one that is meaningful to you and volunteer your time and efforts, make a donation or participate in some other way during the holidays.

6. Give Thanks daily. Dedicate 10 minutes each day during the holiday season to talking about gratitude and things you are grateful for.

7. Perform random acts of kindness. Agree that for a set time period, like a week or month, when each person will perform one act of kindness each day. Anything counts, whether large or small, random or planned. When your family is together at the end of the day (at dinner, before bedtime, or designate a special time), discuss what each of you did, what the response was and how it made you feel.

8. “Ring and Run” — Holiday style. Leave an anonymous holiday surprise at someone’s door, ring the bell and run away before the recipient opens the door and sees you. (Kids will really love this one!) Spread the cheer by adding a note asking them to pass it on and do the same for someone else.

9. Write a Thank You letter to someone who did something during the past year for which you are grateful. Mail or hand-deliver the thank you in person.

10. Make Gratitude your New Year’s resolution. Resolve to make Giving Thanks a regular part of your lives in the New Year.

        Giving thanks encourages you to live “in the moment” and be more open to the people and times in your life that give you joy not only during the holidays — but all year long.

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        I, with my son, William, (aka ‘Bill’), who does the brain work of this Blog, and my friend who sent it to me, wish you and your loved ones a happy Holiday season, Yes, yes, yes, but also for all of 2014, and while we’re at it, the wish is that the days of the rest of your lives be full of gratitude, peace and joy!

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