Some frugal ways to express gratitude and beat holiday stress

The Washington, DC Hug Tour comes through the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

Express your gratitude as a way of beating holiday stress. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/tedeytan/Flickr)

Amidst the haze of mass consumerism regarding many year-end holidays, expressing gratitude often fails to grab the top spot on many people’s holiday lists. Being thankful can be a great way to deal with holiday stress, however. Here are some frugal ways to express gratitude, making Christmas, New Year’s or any other day a time for healing through the power of gratitude – as opposed to paying $100 or more per hour for a therapist.

Expressing gratitude is free, or at least cheap

In its purest form, saying thank you and expressing gratitude for the love and care of others – as well as all the other blessings in your life – doesn’t cost a thing. How we express our gratitude can sometimes bear a price tag during the holiday season, of course, as gift giving is customary. If you’re truly grateful, however, there are frugal ways to deliver your message of thanks.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 1 – Invite a neighbor for dinner

Unlike the speaker in Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall,” you may not believe that good fences make good neighbors. If you have kind neighbors whose company who enjoy, why note invite them over the next time you cook a large meal? Similarly, sharing leftovers from a large meal or dessert is a great way to say thanks you to neighbors next to whom living has been a pleasure.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 2 – Write it down

If you are taken to expressing yourself via the written word, try starting a gratitude journal. That way, you won’t forget all the people in your life who you want to thank. If you carry a small notebook or similar electronic device or smartphone with you to record your thoughts, you may begin to see that your life is full of many small blessings that add up to a whole lot.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 3 – Give them residency

While housing the homeless can be a noble gesture, it can also be dangerous and highly damaging to your resources. A good intermediary step might be to join a couch surfing service for needy travelers. If there’s a cash exchange for use of your facilities, great, but if not, you’re a saint. For added safety, however, try to use a reputable service like CouchSurfering, as background checks are involved.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 4 – Focus on food goodness

From field to your table, food goes on a journey that many pay for in blood, sweat and tears. Show your thanks by savoring the food you eat, and think about the growers, pickers, retailers and more. While they derive some profit, they are ultimately contributing toward your quality of life.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 5 – Call mom

A simple “Thank you” or “I’m thinking of you” is nearly always appreciated by mom. She brought you into this world more than likely as an act of love. Let her know you care.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 6 – Make handmade cards

For the crafty, a hand-written holiday note constructed of colored paper, tissue and even lace that you put together yourself says thank you in a memorable way. Your gratitude for their contribution to your live (and the lives of others) should always be paid forward.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 7 – Take pictures of your world

If you make a photographic study of your world, you’re bound to begin noticing things that you take for granted. Holiday stress won’t crush you if you remain grounded and conscious of the world you’ve built for yourself, from the inside out.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 8 – Smile instead of frowning

Holiday stress can make beasts of us all, particularly when facing the shopping mall crush. If it begins to grate on your nerves, try to consciously take a step back and focus on being grateful, rather than grating in return.

Frugal ways to express gratitude No. 9 – Pay it forward at the drive-thru

Inevitably, you’ve been caught without change at the drive-thru before. Imagine the feeling if someone else had prepaid for your latte. It feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Pay that feeling forward for someone else without the funds and you’ll be spreading the kind of good will that can break the holiday stress block.


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