The holidays are fast approaching. The times ahead can be difficult for many of us and may be more complicated when navigating them during a pandemic. When thinking about how to move forward with “the days of gluttony” and “the season of giving” all swirled together with a cherry on top, it can be challenging to make plans this year. We invite you to reimagine, refresh, and reinvent what this season can bring – and what you can bring to it. Many of us have felt separated or distanced from our community and loved ones. Some of us have learned that the most precious gift we can give may be time itself. Time with others is what we at the Pride Center are truly grateful for; time with our team, with our community, and with those we call “home.”
Image description: A pile of chocolate bark with green, red, and white candy sprinkled on the top. The chocolate bark is in a multicolored tin.
Research supports that expressing gratitude consistently helps us feel happier. Gratitude helps improve relationships with others in our lives. Dr. Alex Korb explained how gratitude creates pathways to positive interactions. He described that something as simple as writing a thank you note shifts our attention towards the good things we already have in our lives. While thank you cards are one form of gratitude and appreciation, here are a few other low-cost and home-made ideas to show care and appreciation:
- Create a “What I Appreciate You” box – Decorate the outside of a shoebox (or similar) and fill it with pieces of paper each listing what you love and appreciate about the intended receiver.
- Create and begin an “Our Favorite Memories” journal – Have a BFF? Sibling(s)? A partner or two or three? Start a shared journal with each of you assigned a color (or something else obvious). Each of you get to take turns writing down a favorite memory of something the group did together. Whomever has the journal at the time gets to enjoy reading all the lovely, wonderful memories are gloomy days or to lift them even further on the sunny ones!
- Put it in writing – Not into crafts? Words are welcome. Sometimes the best way to show gratitude is to simply say it. We all need to be reminded that we matter; even when we know, it’s still nice to hear. If you really want to get fancy, pick up some beautiful card stock or pay to get it printed somewhere.
- Feed them! – Did we get your attention? Good! Please read below for more ideas and information.
Feeding folx is its own love language and nothing quite compares to something homemade. For this reason, the San Mateo County Pride Center offers you the following recipe for Chocolate Bark with multiple variations because we never want to stick to any restrictive categories! The making of the chocolate itself can be a time of great joy and is a family-friendly event that accommodates most ages. By the end, you can create treat bags in any shape, color, and decoration you choose to distribute handmade-with-care gifts that are truly special – and delicious!
Saying thanks and showing appreciation, whether with food or presents, is only one way of gifting kindness to the ones you love. Gratitude grounds us in life and reminds us to be mindful of our place in the world. This can be a very humbling but worthwhile practice. By practicing gratitude, we can learn to notice and appreciate not only the things that are going well in our lives, but the practice may also lead to developing strategies for dealing with life’s challenges. Regardless of how we move forward into this holiday season, one of the most precious gifts is time itself. Let us be grateful for this gift of time we have now.
With care, kindness, and so much pride,
The Pride Center Team