We are all feeling the effect of COVID-19. Some of us are trying hard to create a Christmas atmosphere in their home by decorating earlier than they would normally do. We might not be feeling the spirit of Christmas knowing that we need to keep social distances but Christmas is a great time to start a new tradition. I have already spoken about many Maltese traditions but this post is about creating a family tradition of gratitude.

A Maltese Tradition is to create a Crib

The Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude has been found to improve feelings of happiness and optimism. Gratitude increases the will to exercise and be healthier. Christmas causes a lot of tension and stress because we struggle to make the day “perfect.” Being grateful, improves our relationships with others because it reminds us of why we appreciate them. While thoughts of presents at Christmas time can cause our materialistic side to come out, gratitude helps us to remember to be grateful for what we already have (and doesn’t need to be wrapped with bows).

How can we be more grateful?

For first, you need to start taking care of yourself. Self care is not a selfish action. If you are unhappy, or unhealthy, how can you give joy to the rest of your family? I like keeping a self care kit close at hand, my self care kit includes; a bath bomb, a scented candle, and a teabag. A nice warm bath with the scented candle in the room and a nice cup of tea after, does not break the bank and neither should it create a dent in your time schedule. 

Other forms of self care is a walk in the country with your dog or even with a friend. A good read in a cosy part of the house or even outside near the sea is also another way of spending some time well spent with your self. Whatever way you do it, it is important to have a frame of mind that this time is for you and that you deserve it!

A Gratitude Activity

This activity can be done on Christmas day or even on New Year’s day. It just needs a little preparation but then it is not hard to do. This activity can be done before dinner while everyone is waiting to sit down or after dinner while everyone is chilling out a bit. 

What you will need:

  • A small Christmas Tree or Some Twigs in a plant pot
  • Christmas Present Tags
  • Markers
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Tape

What you need to do is give all family members a few Christmas Tags and a marker each. Then ask them to think of a reason to be grateful for every single member that is in the room. If you are doing it on New Year’s Day, you can write down things you were grateful for in the passed year. No negative comments are allowed. Eg. I am grateful for the time you spend taking me out or I am grateful for the times you woke up early to do breakfast for me, I am grateful for the year that passed because I spent more time out in the countryside, etc.

When everyone is ready writing, one by one you start reading out to each other, the other person should accept with a “Thank you”. When all is said and done these tags are hung on the tree or the twigs. Every time you pass by, you will remember the things your family are grateful for. You will realise that there are things to be grateful and not just the presents under the tree.

Gratitude is free and can be celebrated every day. If you decide to do this gratitude tree, please do take a picture of it and send your comments about it to us. Or send them via our social networks, Facebook and Instagram. We are here to help create ways to make this Christmas special. If you need help please do not hesitate to contact us.